Gingrich spokesman: Alabama and Mississippi are must-wins

{mosads}The Wall Street Journal pressed Hammond as to whether Gingrich “has to win” in Alabama and Mississippi and whether the former Speaker’s credibility rests on carrying the states next Tuesday.

Hammond responded affirmatively to each question.

The Gingrich spokesman went on to brush off suggestions by Santorum’s campaign team and super-PAC that he exit the race to enable a one-on-one showdown between the former Pennsylvania senator and Romney.

“All of the logic being used by the Santorum campaign is simply reversed and it could be used on Rick Santorum,” Hammond said. “We’ll argue, Santorum is splitting Mitt Romney’s moderate vote.”

Gingrich, asked a similar question on Bill Bennett’s syndicated radio show Wednesday morning, said he would consider it if he thought Santorum would definitely go on to become president.

“If I thought he was a slam dunk to beat Romney and to beat Obama, I would really consider getting out. I don’t,” Gingrich said. “I think each of the three candidates has strengths and weaknesses and that this is a very healthy vetting process.”

During Gingrich’s Election Night speech, he heralded himself as the “tortoise” of the 2012 Republican primary.

“There are lots of bunny rabbits who run through — I am the tortoise. I just take one step at a time,” Gingrich told a crowd of supporters in Atlanta.

The former House Speaker — speaking at the same hotel where he learned in 1994 that Republicans would retake the House for the first time in 40 years — said that his campaign had survived being ruled out before, and would surprise the nation again.

“I hope the analysts in Washington and New York who spent June and July declaring our candidacy was dead will watch this tonight and learn a little something from this crowd and this place,” Gingrich said, adding his campaign “survived the national elite’s effort to kill us in the summer because of you, because of people who said we are not going to allow the elite to decide who we are going to nominate.”

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