By Alicia M. Cohn - 03/16/12 12:17 PM EDT
Newt Gingrich on Friday denied that the reason he's able to stay in the GOP presidential race is because of funding by one major donor.
"No. I'm happy to have somebody who cares passionately about the Iranian nuclear weapon, and someone who cares passionately about the survival of Israel, independently support me," Gingrich said on CBS's "This Morning" when asked about Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate who is the major donor to a super-PAC supporting Gingrich.
Rumors surfaced this week that Adelson might have written what CNBC’s John Harwood quoted as his "last check" to support Gingrich.
"But I have 176,000 supporters at newt.org — they want me to stay in the race. I really represent their interests as individuals," he said, claiming that "95 percent have given less than $250" — meaning they haven't hit their legal limit and can donate more.
Gingrich noted that there are several billionaires supporting Mitt Romney and President Obama. "That's unfortunately the way the game is currently played, that's fine," he said.
Gingrich is trailing Romney and Rick Santorum in the delegate count, and recently placed second in two of the Deep South states where he had raised hopes for his campaign strategy. But in multiple media appearances on Friday, he reiterated his pledge to stay in the race until the GOP convention, scheduled to take place in Tampa, Fla., in August.
"Probably none," he said when asked on CBS under what circumstances he would drop out of the race before the convention.
"I'll be with you in Tampa, Charlie," he promised "This Morning" host Charlie Rose.
He has his sights set next on the Louisiana caucuses, scheduled for March 24.
"I think the people who are supporting me want to have sort of a Reagan-like visionary, a big-ideas candidate, and our challenge is to translate that into more delegates, starting here in Louisiana," he said on Fox News.
One of those "big ideas" Gingrich has campaigned on is lowering the price of gas to $2.50 per gallon.
Obama on Thursday mocked that goal without naming Gingrich specifically. "Why not $2.40? Why not $2.10?” he joked during a speech in Maryland.
Gingrich brushed off Obama's use of his words on Fox News, saying, "Imitation's a high form of flattery."