Rick Tyler: I believe Gingrich will go to Tampa

Rick Tyler (left) and Bob Schieffer (right) on CBSNews.com's "Face to Face."
CBS News

(CBS News) Just hours before Newt Gingrich confirmed to reporters that he is so low on funds that he will be laying off a third of his staff, Rick Tyler, a senior adviser at the pro-Gingrich super PAC Winning Our Future, said he thinks the candidate will go "all the way to the convention" - and that the super PAC will be there for him when he does.

Tyler, in an appearance on "Face to Face" taped on Tuesday, told host Bob Schieffer nothing short of an "extraordinary circumstance" would prevent his candidate from taking his candidacy to Tampa.

"He says he's going to the convention, unless there's some extraordinary circumstance, I believe that he'll go to the convention," Tyler said. "The super PAC serves Newt so I think that, we've all said we're going to serve Newt. And if Newt wants to stay all the way to the convention, we're going to be there."

Tyler, a former longtime aide to Gingrich, is not affiliated with the Gingrich campaign, as PACs are prohibited with coordinating directly with the candidates they support. Super PACs are able to collect and spend unlimited funds in support of a candidate.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Gingrich alluded to his recent financial difficulties, telling reporters that "I think we can" get to Tampa despite the fact that "clearly we're going to have to go on a fairly tight budget."

"But I think we can do it and I think we will do it," Gingrich said.

The candidate has only won two primary contests so far - one in his home state of Georgia - and faces plummeting poll numbers, dwindling financial resources and a loss of momentum as rivals Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney continue to rack up victories.

Still, Tyler argues that there is a path to the nomination for Gingrich.

"It's got to be an open convention," he told Schieffer. "And gee we haven't had one. We sort of had an open convention back in 1976, probably didn't have a full-blown one until back in the fifties. And so no one knows what it's going to be like. Is there a path for Newt to win? Absolutely."

Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul's slim hopes of winning the Republican presidential nomination depend primarily on their ability to triumph at a contested convention in August. The idea is that if front-runner Mitt Romney falls short of the 1,144 delegates he needs to secure the nomination before the convention, his rivals will seize the opportunity to win over the Republican faithful during the convention process.

"If Mitt Romney does not arrive in Tampa with the requisite number of delegates, I suspect there will be an initial vote and if he were to fail that vote I don't think there'd be a lot of support for him on the second or subsequent votes, and therefore it would be a race between Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul," said Tyler. "And in that situation I can imagine that a Newt Gingrich could emerge."

Tyler argued that after the first round, delegates who had come to the convention bound to vote for Romney would drop him for an alternate candidate.

"The people who go to Tampa are delegates. These are not casual observers. These are people involved in the party a long time. They've watched the party, they've seen Newt's career, they know who's done what," he said. "They know Mitt Romney's career, they know Rick Santorum's career they know Newt Gingrich's career. And so I think there's a very real possibility."

Romney, he argues, "doesn't speak the language of a conservative."

"I think it's been hard for Mitt Romney to close the deal because he has had such an inconsistent record compared to what he's saying today," Tyler said. "I don't know that I want to say he's a phony, but I don't understand how, why he could be so inconsistent."

Also in the interview, Tyler took a swipe at Santorum's conservative record, pointing specifically to Santorum's endorsement of Arlen Specter in the 2004 Senate race and suggesting it was Santorum's fault that President Obama's health care overhaul passed.

"He said the reason I'm endorsing Arlen Specter for U.S. Senate is because he's going to be there with us on the votes that we need him," Tyler said. "Well everybody now knows that Arlen Specter was the decisive vote in Obamacare. So in a sense Romney invented Obamacare, but Rick Santorum gave it to us."