Gingrich says he's in till GOP convention

By David Espo

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Jan. 28 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

Gingrich seemed in good humor during the day, despite the obstacles in his way. He joked with reporters that they had missed an example of his grandiosity — a charge that one rival, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, had used in a recent debate — when they didn't see him hold a golf trophy on display at the PGA Library.

Gingrich also turned aside one opportunity to criticize Romney, answering a question by saying, 'I want to talk about defeating Obama."

But his tone seemed to change after he said he wasn't happy with his performances in a pair of debates during the week, and was asked to explain.

"You cannot debate somebody who is dishonest. You just can't," he said, referring to Romney.

Referring to one answer the former Massachusetts governor had given, Gingrich said it was not true that Romney had always voted for a Republican when one was on the ballot.

"That in fact he could have voted for George H.W. Bush or Pat Buchanan the same day and he chose the Democratic primary, he voted Paul Tsongas, the most liberal candidate. The same year he gave money to three Democrats for Congress," he added, referring to the 1992 campaign.

"Now there's no practical way in a civil debate to deal with somebody who is that willing to say something that is just totally dishonest."

Romney poked fun at Gingrich's debate performances.

"This last one Speaker Gingrich said he didn't do so well because the audience was so loud. The one before he said he didn't do so well because the audience was too quiet. This is like Goldilocks, you know, you've got to have it just right.

"When I debate the president, I'm not going to worry about the audience, I'm going to make sure that we take down Barack Obama and take back the White House."

The two other contenders, Santorum and Texas Rep. Ron Paul, have conceded Florida and did not campaign in the state during the day.

Associated Press reporter Steve Peoples in Panama City contributed to this report.

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