Gingrich: Michigan a must-win for Romney

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said that if opponent Mitt Romney loses his home state of Michigan, there is little "rationale" for Romney to stay in the race.

"If he can't carry his home state, I think the rationale for why is there a Romney candidacy - he's not a candidate of ideas. He's not a candidate of ideologies," Gingrich said on Fox News Sunday.

Michigan voters head to the polls on Tuesday, February 28, and polls show former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is leading there.

Host Chris Wallace asked Gingrich if the same is true for him and his home state of Georgia, which votes along with 9 other states on March 6 "Super Tuesday."

Gingrich backtracked slightly to lower expectations ahead of a possible Georgia loss.

"Given the chaos of this race, I wouldn't say anything, but it's - but I'm certainly willing to say I think it's extraordinarily important to carry your home state. And also has an underlying impact if you don't."

Asked if he would drop out if he lost Georgia, Gingrich indicated he would not.

"I was home campaigning for the last two days precisely to say to all of my friends back home, Georgia really matters," Gingrich said.

Gingrich told reporters after a fundraising sweep in California that he could lose Georgia given the unpredictable primary.

"Look, given this kind of a year, who knows?" Gingrich said Thursday.

Gingrich is running a consistent third place behind his opponents, and he laid the onus on his challengers Romney and Santorum to win on their own home turf, too.

"I think you'd have a very - if any of the three loses our home state, if Santorum loses Pennsylvania, Romney loses Michigan, or I lose Georgia, you have I think a very, very badly-weakened candidacies."

Santorum has more time before his state votes. Pennsylvania voters head to the polls in April.

  • Leigh Ann Caldwell On Twitter»

    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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