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Gingrich takes on both Romney and Santorum

 

MYRTLE BEACH, SC -- With just five days to go before the South Carolina primary, Newt Gingrich is taking a much harsher tone against a couple of his GOP rivals while raising the question of electability.

“Why would you want to nominate the guy who lost to the guy who lost to Obama?” Gingrich asked the crowd at Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse – a direct jab at Mitt Romney, who lost the 2008 nomination battle to John McCain.

Attacks on Romney by the former House Speaker have been ramping up over the past few days -- after Romney was able to diminish Gingrich’s campaign in Iowa -- but Monday afternoon, Gingrich threw another presidential candidate in the mix.

“If you vote for Senator [Rick] Santorum, in effect you’re functionally voting for Governor Romney to be the nominee because he’s not going to beat him,” Gingrich told the roughly 200-person crowd. “The only way you can stop governor Romney for all practical purposes is to vote for Newt Gingrich.  That’s just a fact.  It’s a mathematical fact now and I think that’ll be a key decision point for conservatives in South Carolina for the next four or five days and I expect it’ll be very intensely discussed.”

But the Speaker’s attack on the former Senator from Pennsylvania did not end there.

“I think evangelical voters would like to defeat Barack Obama and evangelical voters would like to have a nominee who knows how to win a general election.,” Gingrich said. “And somebody who set the all time Pennsylvania record for the size of their defeat has a harder case to make as to why they could be elected.”

The Speaker is staking his campaign here in the Palmetto State after finishing fourth in the Iowa caucus and fifth in the New Hampshire primary. Romney is leading in the state but with Jon Huntsman’s exit from the race, Gingrich says, “now we are into the real game.”

“As the number of competitors keeps shrinking, it will become more and more obvious and we will have clearer and clearer differentiation,” the Speaker said. “If the conservatives decide to consolidate, we can clearly defeat Romney by a substantial margin.”

Tonight the five remaining candidates will debate here in the Coastal Region of South Carolina.