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updated: 3/15/2012 5:40 AM

Gingrich: No plans to call it quits

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  • Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich speaks at a campaign rally in Rosemont, one of several suburban stops on Wednesday.

       Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich speaks at a campaign rally in Rosemont, one of several suburban stops on Wednesday.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Video: Hastert discusses Gingrich

 
By Kerry Lester
Politics and Projects Writer
klester@dailyherald.com

Despite bruising primary losses in the Deep South Tuesday night, GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich of Georgia says he isn't calling it quits anytime soon, holding firm to his commitment to contest every state.

The former House speaker -- in the suburbs Wednesday and Thursday -- sat down with the Daily Herald to talk about what former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum's campaign means for him, and his own message from the podium in the days leading up to Tuesday's primary.

Q. Were you surprised by your performance in Alabama and Mississippi Tuesday night?

A. I was a little surprised Rick Santorum did slightly better than we thought he would. With (former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt) Romney you never can tell. He has so much money that there's a certain automatic minimum he gets. Just because he can go in, his campaign goes in three weeks before anybody else. I think he's starting to run out of money, which is kind of interesting to watch. Because I think he thought he'd have the nomination before this.

Q. You have often said you're going to contest every state. In light of this week's happenings, do you plan to revise that plan, bow out of the race sooner than you originally thought? A. No. There's no reason to. I have a chance to keep talking about big issues. I have a chance to keep making the case that we have to have a profoundly different approach to where we're going. And I happen to think the solutions I'm outlining are better for the country than the solutions Romney and Santorum outline.

Q. If Santorum were to earn the Republican nomination, would you hope or expect to be asked to be a part of his ticket?

A. In all candor, I don't think anybody would ever pick me as the vice presidential nominee. I have too many ideas of my own.

Q. But if he did?

A. You always have to consider seriously a presidential nominee's request. You can't just capriciously turn him down.

Q. Your Illinois events are entirely in the suburbs. What's your strategy behind that?

A. Well, we do a lot of small towns too. If you had been with us in Alabama and Mississippi, believe me, we were in a lot of very small towns. But, the suburbs, first of all if you're a Republican, you're going to get a lot bigger, more positive (play) than you are downtown. Frankly, when we can, we like to do smaller towns, too. I'd be very happy in Peoria and Springfield.

Q. Why not Peoria and Springfield?

A. Just time. One of the things we've learned is it's a huge country and you sort of never actually get to stop. I've told someone it's not a marathon, it's a series of daily sprints.

Q. You're speaking at schools tomorrow. Will we see the old professor in you come out?

A. I think what you'll see is talking about how to think about where we are and for their generation how to think about the scale of the solutions we need if we're going to be successful.

I think we're in real trouble. If you see what's happening in Greece and Portugal and Spain, and if you look at Japan, there are some significant challenges that are growing around the world. This younger generation is going to have to deal with them.

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