FREDERICK, Md. - Assuring supporters that his race for the GOP presidential nomination is far from over, Newt Gingrich on Monday proposed to Maryland voters that they use their Facebook pages to bolster support for him.
Speaking at a rally in Frederick one day before Maryland's primary, Gingrich asked attendees to write on their Facebook pages on Tuesday before hitting the polls, "Newt = $2.50 gasoline" - a reference to his plan to get gas prices down to $2.50 per gallon.
"That helps get people aroused," he said.
Gingrich this week laid off one-third of his staff and cut down his campaign schedule significantly, suggesting he would lay low until Republican front-runner Mitt Romney obtained the necessary 1,144 delegates prior to August's convention. But on Monday Gingrich modified his claim to mean 1,144 "uncontested delegates."
That caveat would exclude many that were awarded to Romney in states like Florida, which held a controversial winner-take-all contest in January.
"I can't tell you today how realistic it is that we will get to an open convention and I can't tell you today with any certain that I will be the nominee," Gingrich said. "But I can tell you ... Gov. Romney doesn't have it locked down. And we have no obligation to back off and concede anything until he does."
But Gingrich's own campaign continues to suffer from plummeting poll numbers and a burdensome campaign debt. During a stop at Hood College later in the day Monday, one student asked Gingrich, "How do you legitimize your campaign being $1.5 million in debt, when you just condemned Americans being in debt and overspending?"
"I don't," Gingrich answered. "Look, I'd much rather be totally out of debt. I'm working to be totally out of debt. I spent most of my career working to get out of debt. ... And I appreciate your help in pointing out to everyone here that they have a chance to help me achieve the American ideal, which is to be debt-free."