Gingrich looks for a bright side in Fla. defeat

By Shannon Mccaffrey

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 1 2012 6:25 p.m. MST

RENO, Nev. — Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Wednesday sought to put a positive spin on his defeat in Florida's primary as he looks to the Nevada caucuses to yet again reset the volatile GOP race.

The former House speaker said that despite being pounded with a double-digit defeat in Florida, he's "very, very delighted with the results."

"On the conservative side, we carried evangelicals. We carried the tea party people," he said.

In fact, preliminary exit poll data showed GOP front-runner Mitt Romney performed better with tea party supporters in Florida. The two were closely matched with self-described evangelical or born-again voters.

At a rally in Reno, Gingrich said he wants to compete in every single caucus meeting in Nevada. But he acknowledged that Romney, who won the state when he sought the Republican nomination in 2008, holds an edge.

"I think this is clearly a state where Romney last time had a huge vote. He has a big advantage," Gingrich told reporters.

The former House speaker said he had not canceled an event with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican who is neutral in the race now that Texas Gov. Rick Perry has dropped out. Sandoval's office said Gingrich scrapped a meeting in Carson City on Wednesday, but Gingrich chalked it up to a scheduling conflict.

"We're trying to find a time that works for both the governor and us," he said.

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