PASADENA, Calif. –- Newt Gingrich “kicked off” his California campaign this afternoon outside of Los Angeles but failed to attack either of his two GOP competitors: Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.
Gingrich, speaking at a Hispanic Leadership event in South El Monte, never mentioned either Romney or Santorum. Asked by reporters following the event why he did not mention either men by name during his speech, Gingrich said he was sticking to talking about himself.
“I believe, when we went back and analyzed it, I do dramatically better when I focus on the nation's problems and I focus on the nation's solutions. I don’t do nearly as well when I focus on my competitors,” Gingrich said inside Cielito Lindo Restaurant. “We took lesson that has worked twice in the last three months."
The former House Speaker added, “I think my ideas are much bolder than Santorum or Romney’s. I think my ideas are much clearer and more specific and I have to focus on communicating those ideas.”
Gingrich will spend the next three days in California mostly focusing on fundraising – something the campaign needs to stay in the race. The former House speaker only has one win under his belt, the South Carolina primary back in mid-January while Santorum has racked up four victories in Iowa, Missouri, Colorado, and Minnesota and Romney has three in New Hampshire, Florida, and Maine. Gingrich says, though, he will be back on top soon.
"I believe in a few weeks I will return to being the leader in the Gallup poll,” he said at a Tea Pac meeting here.
Rather than taking aim at his Republican counterparts, Gingrich focused some of his speech on President Barack Obama, especially his new budget proposal.
“The time to have the fight over the next debt ceiling is not this fall. We've played this game before. We know what Obama's going to do. He's going to get up to the last minute. He's going to stand there and say how we need to do this. We have no choice,” Gingrich said. “Time to stop it is right now. What the Congress ought to do right now is passing the kind of reform that would make the debt ceiling increase unnecessarily.”
It wasn’t all-business for the former speaker today, though. One member of the audience wanted to know what special Valentines Day’s plans he had with his wife, Callista, Tuesday.
"All I can promise is that I believe she will be quite happy tomorrow night. I think for the first time in a while we have a private dinner and hopefully [can] exchange gifts, and reconnect a little bit,” Gingrich said.
After a pause and a little smile while the crowd laughed, the speaker added: "No more details."
Gingrich visits the Tulare World Ag Expo Tuesday in addition to holding private fundraisers before his supposed Valentine’s Day plans.