LAS VEGAS (AP) — Newt Gingrich is wooing NASCAR voters.

As he charts a possible course to the Republican nomination, aides say Gingrich will paint frontrunner Mitt Romney as the candidate of the PGA golf tour while the former House speaker pursues the blue collar mantle of Dale Earnhardt.

It’s a strategy that exploits the class warfare Gingrich professes to oppose. Still, it could pay dividends once the GOP race again swings South. Gingrich sees delegate-rich Texas as a firewall in April. But he must slog through more than 30 contests before that.

“Our commitment is to seek to find a series of victories which would end at the Texas primary, which will leave us about at parity with Gov. Romney,” Gingrich said at a press conference in Las Vegas following caucus results which showed him placing a distant second behind Mitt Romney.

It won’t be easy. Coming off sizable wins in Florida and Nevada, Romney is again the undisputed frontrunner in the Republican race, having brushed aside the threat posed by Gingrich when he won South Carolina on Jan. 21. Romney has momentum, money and a healthy lead in pledged delegates.

And before the 10-state battle on March 6 known as Super Tuesday, the Republican race will move through several more states seen as favorable to Romney, such as his old home state of Michigan.

Still, those who’ve followed Gingrich’s career know he’s at his strongest as an insurgent — which is precisely where he now finds himself.

In Las Vegas, Gingrich has been making the case to donors that he can come back yet again. He’s been cloistered with top advisers, including his pollster, in a campaign war room to map out the coming months. The mandate is to keep the delegate count close in states with the kind of working class voter they are targeting.

For now, Gingrich is giving a brief nod to states holding votes this month while looking forward to Super Tuesday states and beyond.

Gingrich will touch down briefly in Colorado and Minnesota — which both hold contests on Tuesday — before heading to a state that holds more promise for the former House speaker: Ohio. Gingrich is hopeful his populist attacks on Romney will resonate with the Rust Belt’s blue collar voters. Mindful that he was pummeled in Florida, where he arrived after a significant amount of early voting had taken place, Gingrich is launching a two-day bus tour in Ohio on Tuesday and Wednesday hoping to grab headlines as early voters make up their minds.

Gingrich aides also believe Arizona, where voters will cast ballots Feb. 28, could be fertile ground for Gingrich who has appeal with Hispanic voters due to an immigration policy that seeks to straddle the line between tough and compassionate. Gingrich wants to control the border but he’s also said that the millions of illegal immigrants in the country for decades should not automatically be deported and instead be provided a path to stay.

Still, even as the former Georgia congressman casts himself as a national candidate, noting that he’ll head to California next week, it is the South — with its evangelicals and social conservatives — that could prove pivotal.

“We want to get to Georgia, to Alabama, to Tennessee. We want to get to Texas,” Gingrich said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

He failed to mention Virginia, the state he now calls home, and where he failed to qualify to get on the ballot. The error is costly. It means he won’t be eligible for any of the state’s 46 delegates.

Gingrich is expected to fare well in Georgia, the state he represented in Congress for two decades and where he’s credited with building the Republican party from the ground up.

And he plans to compete hard in Texas, with its coveted 155 delegates. He’ll likely have help from his onetime rival Rick Perry, the Texas governor who dropped out of the race last month and threw his support behind Gingrich calling him a conservative visionary.

Moving forward, Gingrich said he will continue to pound away at the “big contrasts” with Romney.

“I am pretty comfortable that when you come down to it and go state to state to state, a pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-tax increase, George Soros-approved candidate of the establishment probably is not going to do very well,” he said.


Follow Shannon McCaffrey:

© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Comments (2)
  1. Elaine says:

    Newt & The Threat of Islam

    “I am deeply worried…my grandchildren die of terrorism”
    …”spreading their poison by sermons, poison on the Internet;”
    ” they engage against the Country that gave them jobs and security”;

    “Schools recruit suicide bombers”;

    Iran ran ads on TV last year to recruit 12 yr olds, etc.

    “And, we tolerate it…when do we draw the line!”

    This specific video lets us know Exactly where Newt stands on Islam!

  2. Elaine says:

    This is VERY disturbing. We have all noticed how the Media continues to push Romney down our throats. Guess what! They did it before. Is the Fix in by the Media? Who is running them?

    THAT a year-old video of a speech by Ann Coulter is now making the rounds on the Internet, showing the conservative pundit warning that the nomination of Mitt Romney as the GOP presidential candidate will lead to a Democratic victory in November.
    Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February 2011, Coulter said: “If we don’t nominate [New Jersey Gov.] Chris Christie, Romney will be the nominee and we’ll lose.”

    Flash forward to the present day: Coulter has changed her stance and now supports Romney’s candidacy. She has even penned a column titled “Three Cheers for Romneycare.”
    She writes: “One difference between the healthcare bills is that Romneycare is constitutional and Obamacare is not.”
    THAT comedians in post-revolutionary Egypt aren’t laughing after one of the nation’s most beloved comics was sentenced to three months in jail for “defaming Islam.”
    A court handed down the decision against Adel Imam for a 2007 movie in which he plays a corrupt businessman who tries to buy a university diploma, the Ahram Online English website reported. The film included a scene with bearded Muslim men wearing traditional Islamic robes.
    Imam was sentenced in absentia, and his whereabouts are reportedly unknown.
    THAT a majority of Americans believe that food stamp recipients should be fingerprinted to be eligible for the benefits, according to a new poll.
    The survey by Rasmussen Reports found that 53 percent of respondents think recipients should be fingerprinted, while 36 percent disagree and 11 are undecided.
    The issue has come to the fore in New York City recently. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is in favor of the current policy requiring fingerprinting while New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to end the practice.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Listen Live