Is one of them potentially a nominee? Yes. Is it equally possible that a third candidate, maybe Newt Gingrich, maybe somebody else is going to get past them? Yes. So this is still a very, very wide open race, he said.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) also dismissed the idea of the top two candidates being set in stone during the Republican debate Thursday night.

Right now, I’m going to … just work very hard, and make sure that I stay in the top tier and then eventually be one of the top two contenders, Paul said.

Gingrich said early polling is a premature measure for who the eventual nominee will be.

“At this point in 2007, Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson were the Republican front-runners, Gingrich said. “So for the news media to decide they think they are going to pick who’s going to be able to take advantage of things, I think is pretty foolish.

Both Gingrich and Paul cited polls in which they have edged into the top three in key primary states: Gingrich is polling well in Florida, while Paul is gaining traction in New Hampshire.