Gingrich, Perry camps deny rumors of vice presidential talks

Spokesmen for Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry denied rumors that the two have been in preliminary discussions about a Gingrich-Perry ticket.

“Gov. Perry thinks Newt Gingrich is the strongest conservative to debate and defeat President Obama and truly overhaul Washington,” said Perry spokeswoman Catherine Frazier in a statement. “The speculation is humbling but premature."

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Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond did not respond to an email request, but in an interview late Sunday with CBS also called the speculation “premature,” and said discussions like that would be more appropriate for “later in the process.”

A number of outlets reported that discussions were under way between the two camps to announce Perry, who endorsed Gingrich after dropping out of the race for the GOP presidential nomination in January, as Gingrich’s vice presidential pick before the Republican National Convention in August.

Some are speculating that the timing of the rumors is strategic. Talk of adding the Texas governor to the ticket could energize the conservative base for Gingrich ahead of Tuesday’s primaries in Mississippi and Alabama.

Gingrich has staked his campaign on a “Southern strategy,” which has produced victories in South Carolina and his home state of Georgia, but the former House Speaker is presently knotted atop the polls with Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in the contests for Mississippi and Alabama.

Gingrich needs to win one, if not both, of Tuesday’s contests to remain credible, as the Santorum campaign is already ratcheting up the pressure for Gingrich to pull out.

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