Newt Gingrich has accepted that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is all but assured the Republican presidential nomination, and he’s only staying in the race to influence the future nominee. And he also thinks the race is still wide open and anything could happen.
It all depends on the day.
Here’s a series of recent quotes in which Gingrich appears to be a man divided.
* “If [Romney] can't get to 1,144 on the 26th of June, the last primary, then it is going to be a wide-open electronic convention for 60 days of talking among the American people.” — CNN interview, March 26
* “Either Romney will self destruct, or Romney will be the nominee.” — Lunch with supporters, April 2
* “I’m trying to get to an open convention to see what would happen ... I’m not going to beat Romney head to head, but ... if we have an open convention, the truth is, nobody knows what would happen.” — ABC News interview, April 4
* “Every vote we can get in North Carolina is a vote for a more conservative platform [...] that is a very useful thing to be doing.” — North Carolina appearance, April 8
* “I think you have to be realistic ... [Romney] is far and away the most likely nominee.” — Fox News interview, April 8
* “There’s still a lot of running room ... There’s no question Romney’s the front-runner, but he has not locked this up.” — Radio interview with Sean Hannity, April 10
“It’s not over and he has not won it yet,” — April 11, AP
* “This is still a more open nomination process than anyone in the elite media believes.” — National Rifle Association, April 13
“If another candidate locks up the nomination by winning 1144 delegates, either before or at the convention, Newt will support him,” explained spokesman Joe DeSantis. “But until then Newt will continue to offer conservatives a real choice and fight for every vote.”
The simple truth is that Gingrich is on a sort of national tour in support of the brand of Newt these days. His chances of winning the Republican presidential nomination are approximately zero — as are his chances of exerting much influence over how Romney positions himself for the general election.
His dueling quotes simply reinforce the sense that Gingrich is a man apart these days. He’s still running, but no one else seems to be paying much attention.