ORLANDO, Fla — With Mike Reagan and former State Attorney General Bill McCollum whipping up the crowd at the Renaissance Hotel here on the eve of the Republican presidential primary, Newt Gingrich confidently spoke of a win in Florida and stepped up his fire on main rival Mitt Romney.
Speaking of one of his opponents’ “inability to tell the truth” through a broadside of attacks saying Gingrich was not a part of Ronald Reagan’s team in the 1980’s, the former House speaker told cheering backers at the hotel ballroom that all they have to do is say they know he was a true-blue Reagan man because “you heard it from Ronald Reagan’s son.” Mike Reagan, the oldest son of the late President, had earlier introduced Gingrich by denouncing Romney’s criticism of the Georgian and saying that Republicans could bring Ronald Reagan back “by voting for Newt Gingrich tomorrow.”
Continuing the counter-attack at Romney, Gingrich held up his hands close to each other and said that a “Massachusetts moderate is only this close to Barack Obama,” that both Romney and Obama were backed by the financial titan Goldman-Sachs, and that leftist billionaire George Soros had told an interview that a presidency under Newt Gingrich would be “very different.”
For all the confidence exuded by Gingrich, Reagan, McCollum, and the audience, his campaign team appears braced for a loss to Romney in Florida and have already begun to talk about what comes after tomorrow’s primary. Before the rally, HUMAN EVENTS spoke to the former House speaker’s national campaign chairman, former Rep. Bob Walker (R-Penn.). He stopped short of predicting a Gingrich win over Romney, but did cite the ever-changing polls in the last few days. Walker also said that Florida’s winner-take-all primary would only give Romney 50 more delegates if he won, and that Gingrich could easily make that up with a win in his homestate of Georgia on “Super Tuesday” in March.
“We are in it for the long haul and Newt will go all the way to the ‘national convention’ in Tampa,” vowed Walker.
Walker also voiced his strong belief that Romney (“he has never won more than 50 percent anywhere”) would lose to Gingrich if the two ever went one-on-one. When we asked if he would ask his old friend and fellow Pennsylvanian Rick Santorum to drop out, Walker replied that he had “known Rick for a long time and he had hoped to pick up the pieces if Newt imploded. Obviously that hasn’t happened and won’t happen.”