He predicted his message will resonate with voters in Florida, which holds the next primary Jan. 31.
“People are just sick and tired of being told what they’re allowed to think, what they’re allowed to say,” Gingrich told NBC “Meet the Press” moderator David Gregory. “As they look at the big boys in Wall Street, as they look at Washington, they know none of the help got down to average everyday Floridians, and I think that gap creates a real anger against the national establishment.”
But a more difficult hurdle lies ahead for Gingrich as the race pivots to the populous and politically diverse state further south, where Romney’s well-organized campaign apparatus has been operating for weeks, racking up endorsements and blanketing the airwaves with TV ads.
Romney has been spending heavily on television advertising in each of the state’s 10 media markets, and he plans a week of campaigning across the state beginning Sunday. He has focused some attention on the Cuban-American population, a group that heavily supported John McCain in 2008.
Romney’s advisers believe his economic message and business experience will play well with voters in Florida, a business-friendly state that has been suffering one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates. But they do not plan to let up on the attacks on Gingrich’s character, particularly his two failed marriages and a recent interview from his second wife Marianne in which she alleged that Gingrich asked for an “open marriage,” a claim Gingrich denied.
“If we put up anything less than a Boy Scout, we’re gonna be in trouble,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) in an interview.
“I don’t believe that voters in Florida will find that media bias trumps serial philandering,” added Chaffetz, who has endorsed Romney and served as a surrogate on the campaign trail. “I think when the reality of that question settles in for conservatives, they’re not going to stand for somebody who’s had trouble in these areas. I really don’t. I think voters in a rational moment will see how devastating and stupid that would be to hand that card to Barack Obama.”
Romney also has the endorsements of three prominent leaders there — Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, as well as his brother, former congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart — and last week began running a Spanish-language television advertisement narrated by Romney’s Spanish-speaking son, Craig.
Cognizant of the challenges that lie ahead, Gingrich’s campaign and its supporters are mounting an aggressive effort to at least partially close the fundraising and organizational gap.