Newt Gingrich: 'I am the tortoise' of the 2012 Republican primary

Newt Gingrich heralded himself as the "tortoise" of the 2012 Republican primary after a strong win in Georgia — the state he represented for two decades in Congress — and pledged to fight on for the Republican presidential nomination despite an otherwise poor showing in the Super Tuesday contests.

"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."

He went on to emphasize the importance of the Georgia results, saying they gave an example of what voters who knew him thought — rather than those who had met him through the prism of "Wall Street" attack ads. Gingrich used the euphemism repeatedly to refer to Mitt Romney's campaign through his speech.

"If I can't carry my home state where people know me, I would have no credibility," Gingrich said.

Gingrich pledged to continue on in the GOP race, despite what would likely be a commanding lead in the delegate count by Romney by the end of the night. 

"In the morning, we are going on to Alabama, we are going on to Mississippi, we are going on to Kansas, and that's just this week," Gingrich said.

The former Speaker is expected to receive Secret Service protection starting Wednesday.

Gingrich then transitioned to criticize the president over rising gas prices, a theme he has hammered on the campaign trail in recent weeks.