Newt Gingrich speaks at the Alabama Republican Presidential Forum on Monday… (Win McNamee / Getty Images )
Reporting from Birmingham, Ala. —
Responding to a question Tuesday about whether a Newt Gingrich-Rick Santorum ticket was possible, Gingrich offered a vague, but tantalizing answer: "I wouldn't be surprised, once we're through the primaries if it still looks like it does now, to see the conservatives come together."
But the former House speaker, interviewed in the radio studio of "The Rick & Bubba Show," said he thought he would campaign up until the Republicans nominate a presidential candidate.
He predicted Mitt Romney would fall short of the delegates needed to win outright and said the convention could be the most exciting since 1940, when no nominee had it locked up.
"There's a certain advantage, I think right now, in having both of us tag-team Romney because neither one of us by ourselves can raise the money to match Romney," he said. "With Rick and me together, we're really slowing him down with some help frankly from Ron Paul."
Gingrich, who will spend the day campaigning in Alabama, did not predict a win, but said that he expected to pick up a lot of delegates. Gingrich represented a congressional district in neighboring Georgia for two decades. He has won only in Georgia and South Carolina, which also shares a border with Georgia. He also said he expected to do well in Louisiana, noting that he went to Tulane University, and Texas, where he has the endorsement of Gov. Rick Perry.
He also used the interview to remind Alabama voters that he was from next door, saying that people who attended a Republican presidential candidate forum in Birmingham on Monday night told him that they were switching to him after hearing him speak. "They don't want to have a Massachusetts moderate when they can actually have a Georgia conservative," he said.
As voters in Alabama went to the polls, along with voters in neighboring Mississippi, Gingrich won a ringing endorsement from bass-fishing legend Ray Scott, who called into the show.
"He is just the most qualified man, my gosh, almighty. We've seen proof positive that when you don't know what you're doing you shouldn't be doing it," he said. "The man has got sober, sober, deliberate focus on what's going on in this country, and what its needs are and, Lord knows, we don't need any more of what we've got. We've got to have some relief and I think Newt is an absolute God-blessed gift to us. And if we don't get out and vote for this guy today somebody ought to be ashamed of themselves."
The show is hosted by two native Alabamans, Rick Burgess and Bill "Bubba" Bussey, who joke that they are "the two sexiest fat men alive" and thread their show with references to their Christian beliefs. Before Gingrich came on the air, Burgess warned callers to avoid "meaningless shout-outs" and "shameless plugs." The show's call-in number is 866-WE-BE-BIG.
Several callers said voting was light at polling places in Birmingham, the state's most populous city. The three who disclosed whom they supported had voted for Santorum.
Gingrich joked that he returned to the show because of the food. "I remember eating with you guys three or four years ago," he said. Explaining how wrong Obama is about everything, he suggested that the president thought the way to get a hard egg was to put it in the freezer, which pleased the hosts. "It was funny with him using an egg analogy," Burgess said.
The twice-divorced Gingrich, who has admitted to having affairs, was also asked to explain his spiritual development to the evangelical right. "I think, first of all, I'm a person who believes that you have to go to God in prayer, and you have to seek God's guidance every day. It's an everyday thing. It's not a Sunday thing," he said. "I have had moments in my life when I have fallen short and have had to ask for God's forgiveness."
But Gingrich said he was now a 68-year-old grandfather with a strong marriage. "What I hope is that people will measure who I am, not who I was 25 years ago," he said.
The conversation also turned to Gingrich's plan to reduce gas prices by increasing drilling. He mocked the president for saying that algae could provide a solution. "You're not going to drive into your gas station this summer and fill your tank with algae," he said.
The hosts also suggested that many voters were anxious to see a debate between Obama and Gingrich, to which, Gingrich said: "Look, that means I've got to be the nominee."
Original source: Gingrich sees advantage to 'tag-team' effort against Romney