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Gingrich says you won't like Santorum the next morning

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Just as the race may “redefine itself once again,” Newt Gingrich started attacking a different opponent Monday as he campaigned in Tennessee, hitting the man many believe to be his chief rival in the South -- Rick Santorum.

“You will see things start to clarify if, as people expect, you end up with a Romney victory in Michigan tomorrow, you will see Santorum getting a very different second look,” Gingrich told a crowd gathered for a luncheon.

“He [Santorum] has had two weeks of being the alternative. The fact is, I think there are profound reasons that Rick lost his Senate race in Pennsylvania history in 2006, and I think it is very hard for him to carry that all the way to the general.”

He added, "Then he comes South and you take the case right here. He voted for the unions over FedEx. I suspect most folks in the state don't know that. But in fact he was a big labor Republican in Pennsylvania and I suspect when you get to Memphis and you say to people, 'Gee, this is a guy who wanted to guarantee that FedEx give into the unions.' Santorum won't be as popular the following morning."

Tomorrow, Tuesday, voters take to the polls in Romney’s home state of Michigan and also in Arizona. The outcome there, if Santorum is able to pull out a win over Romney, would throw a wrench in Romney’s path to the nomination. The former Massachusetts governor, whose father served as governor in Michigan, has been spending increasing time and money in Michigan after Santorum’s poll numbers began to rise there.

The former Speaker of the House is use to the up and downs of this race that he often refers to as a “roller coaster.”

“I have the longest record of any candidate in this race to somehow re-emerge over and over again,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich was viewed as politically dead in this race last summer when most of his campaign staff quit, but then shot up in the polls in December before finishing a disappointing fourth in both Iowa and New Hampshire. The former speaker, though, won South Carolina by a commanding margin before struggling in the next six states. Santorum, Gingrich noted today, did something very smart after New Hampshire.

“He took all of his resources -- he skipped South Carolina, Florida, and Nevada," Gingrich said. "He went to three states [Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri] nobody else was in, won the three states, one of which was a disaster for Romney, because he dropped from 60 to 35 in Colorado, so Santorum now has got all the national news media momentum. So, we’re back through another cycle.”

Gingrich is banking on a win in Georgia and success in many other Southern states on Super Tuesday and beyond to help propel him back to front-runner status yet again.

Veering away from his Republican competitors momentarily during his event in downtown Nashville, Gingrich spoke about foreign policy, telling the roughly 100-person crowd the United States is not going to fix Afghanistan.

“There’s some problems, where what you have to do is say, ‘You know, you’re going to have to figure out how to live your own miserable life because I’m not here -- you clearly don’t want to hear from me how to be unmiserable,’" Gingrich said. "And that’s what you’re going to see happen."

But Gingrich, who has been focusing the themes of his campaign recently on gas prices and national security, believes this race is far from over.

“I think you could easily end up in a race, which will go to the convention for the first time in your lifetime,” he contended. “For us, it will be very nerve-wrecking.”