Gingrich: I have to win South Carolina

On Monday in New Hampshire, GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich sat down with Scott Pelley to discuss why he thought his support is slipping.

Gingrich: I think largely the negative ads which got picked up by all the media and then replayed. And I've gotta go back and rebuild. Coming out of Iowa where 45 percent of the ads literally were directed at me, they did a lot of damage. And now we're undoing that damage.

Pelley: What's gonna happen in two weeks?

Gingrich: Well I think we'll win South Carolina. I think that in the end, it'll come down to Romney and me. And I think in that choice, that this is not a party which is gonna pick a Massachusetts moderate to go up against Barack Obama.

Pelley: You have to win it in South Carolina?

Gingrich: I think we have to win. It's a win or take all state. I think it has always picked the winner. And I think it's very, very important for us to be able to win South Carolina.

Pelley: You have to win to go on?

Gingrich: I think at that point, it becomes very hard to go on if you don't win.

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Pelley: You pledged famously as you started this campaign not to go negative.

Gingrich: Right.

Pelley: And you were gonna leave that to others. Why'd you change your mind?

Gingrich: I don't think you can believe in unilateral disarmament. I mean, Governor Romney was part of running...they ran $3,500,000 in negative ads in Iowa. I don't think you can say, "I'm gonna put down any ability to defend myself" and allow somebody to run over you every morning, particularly since some of the ads were false.

Pelley: It's impossible to run a clean campaign?

Gingrich: No, it's possible. It's impossible to run a passive campaign. You can run an honest accurate, tough campaign.

Pelley: How you gonna do in New Hampshire?

Gingrich: I think we'll survive here. We're not gonna do brilliantly. We're not spending a great deal of money. It would be great if we ended up in a clean third. We have lots of people going to vote for us tomorrow, and I think almost anything could happen.

  • Scott Pelley

    Correspondent, "60 Minutes"