After Florida loss, Gingrich says he still expects to be nominee

Republican presidential candidate former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at a campaign rally at Great Basin Brewing Company Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012, in Reno, Nev.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
Newt Gingrich
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

After his major defeat in the Florida primary on Tuesday, Newt Gingrich said he still expects to be the nominee when the convention in Tampa rolls around in August.

If Gingrich didn't make that claim, even if he knows it's a long shot, he would be bowing out of the race for the GOP nomination.

At his concession speech in Orlando, a big sign behind him proclaimed "46 STATES TO GO." His next stop on the Newt 2012 march to the nomination is Nevada.

Speaking in Reno to a small crowd of supporters, Gingrich said he was delighted with the results of the Florida primary, despite losing to Romney by 14 points.

"I carried a majority of counties, the conservative side, evangelicals and Tea Party people," he said.

According to CBS News exit polls, Romney edged out Gingrich among conservatives, 41 percent to 37 percent, but Gingrich did win those who said they were "very conservative," 41percent to 30 percent. Among White Evangelicals, it was tight but Gingrich won, 38 percent 36 percent. And Romney won those who were Tea Party supporters, 41 percent to 37 percent. However, Gingrich prevailed among those who said they strongly supported the Tea Party movement, 45 percent to 33 percent.

In his remarks, he outlined his "conservative contract for America," and a plan to dismantle 40 percent of the Obama government on the first day of his administration.

He said he would eliminate President Obama's health care law and the Dodd-Frank and Sarbannes-Oxley financial reform laws. He also said he would sign a series of executive orders, including abolishing all White House czars, opening a U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, repealing what he called anti-religious actions of the Obama administration and approving the Keystone pipeline. The former House speaker noted the Republicans would need to gain majorities in the House and Senate to execute his plan.

In regards to his chief GOP rival, Mitt Romney, Gingrich said he would pit "people power against money power" in the campaign, and he doesn't believe that Romney can afford to out-spend his campaign by five to one in all the states where they will contest for delegates.

Full CBS News coverage: Newt Gingrich

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