Gingrich: I won't drop out of the presidential race before Iowa caucuses

BALTIMORE — Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said he's confident he'll still be a candidate by the time of Iowa's influential caucuses early next year. 

Gingrich, whose campaign has endured difficulties including the departures of top aides and finance officials, said he would still be competing in the key nominating contest. 

"Sure, of course," Gingrich said before a Maryland Republican Party fundraiser here when asked if he could state definitively that he'd still compete in the caucuses. 

Gingrich's campaign participated in an auction for territory at the Ames Straw Poll, the influential August precursor to next year's caucuses, but his campaign declined to purchase a plot there. An aide to Gingrich said that the campaign had not yet decided whether to participate in Ames.

Gingrich dismissed his campaign shake-ups, which most recently included the departure of his top finance officials.

"These things happen over and over. They fascinate the media; they have no long-term, historic meaning," he said.

Gingrich again defended the way he's run his campaign, characterizing it as a vision-driven endeavor that could make him a contender by the time of the caucuses.

"Either there'll be a message that resonates with 14 million unemployed, either there's a message that resonates when one out of every four houses is worth less than its mortgage, there'll be a message that resonates when there are three wars and no strategic coherence in the administration, or there won't be," he said. "If there is, then I'll be a contender in January."

He said his speech-driven approach, combined with the ideas contained within his books, would sustain his campaign in the weeks to come.

"This was always a misnomer. The people who decided they didn't like what I was doing were professional consultants who were outsiders, who didn't understand my style. My style is to write books ... my style is to have major speeches that have content, as you'll see tonight," he said.

Gingrich ducked a question on whether he'll rehire staff, amid rumors of financial difficulties facing his campaign.

"I ask everyone I can for money," he said.