Santorum's sweep piles pressure on Gingrich
(CBS News) BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Rick Santorum is celebrating twin victories in the South.
The former Pennsylvania senator won both the Alabama and Mississippi primaries Tuesday. Mitt Romney came in third in both states.
In Alabama, Santorum got 35 percent of the vote, while Newt Gingrich finished second with 29 percent, just a hair above Romney's 29 percent.
In Mississippi, Santorum got 33 percent, Gingrich 31 percent and Romney 30 percent.
Romney did pull out victories in Hawaii and American Samoa.
Santorum's been strongly suggesting that Gingrich get out of the race so he can be the only one to take on Romney. This Southern sweep is going to make those arguments even stronger.
"We did it again!" Santorum told cheering supporters in Alabama.
He had just claimed victory there when he found out he'd also won Mississippi.
With the two big wins, Santorum made it clear to Gingrich he should get out of the race and let him take on Romney. "As I've been saying," Santorum remarked, "this adventure's going to be a two-person race, and when it does, the conservative will win."
Gingrich went all-out in Alabama and Mississippi -- two states he predicted he'd win and that were seen as crucial to continuing his campaign. The pressure on him to drop out will now be enormous -- but Tuesday night, he was resolute, saying the media decided too soon that Romney was the nominee, and that he's staying in until the Republican convention in Tampa in August.
CBS News political director John Dickerson told "CBS This Morning" co-host Charlie Rose Wednesday that the real winner Tuesday may have been Romney. He also addressed the factors surrounding whether Gingrich keeps his hat in the race. To see the discussion, click on the video below."I emphasize going to Tampa," Gingrich said, "because one of the things tonight proved is that the elite media's effort to convince the nation that Mitt Romney is inevitable just collapsed.
In his speech Tuesday night, Gingrich hammered Romney, and suggested his motivation was to keep Romney from getting the nomination, saying, "I do not believe that a Massachusetts moderate who created Romneycare as the forerunner of Obamneycare is going to be in a position to win any debates (against President Obama) this fall."
But the road is now unclear for Gingrich, who admits he must re-tool his strategy and figure out where to campaign next.
Romney continues to pile up the delegates -- he'll get a share from Alabama and Mississippi, along with some from American Samoa. He also won Hawaii.
He now heads to the Midwest, focusing his energy on the Missouri caucus on Saturday.
Romney jokingly asked as crowd there, "How many here in this audience call it Missourah, as opposed to Missouri?" That got light applause. "OK, how many say Missouri, like I do?" That got strong cheers.
Gingrich has sent backers an e-mail, asking them for money. And it almost sounds personal. During a speech Tuesday night, Gingrich congratulated Santorum but repeatedly bashed Romney, calling him the s-called front-runner, suggesting he couldn't win in November.
But the question for Gingrich now is how he's going to withstand the enormous pressure -- all these calls on him to get out of the race.
To see Jan Crawford's report, click on the video in the player above.
- Jan Crawford
Jan Crawford is CBS News Chief Political and Legal Correspondent. She is from "Crossroads," Alabama.Follow on Twitter »
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