Gingrich says talk of ticket with Perry is premature


If the contest for the Republican presidential nomination is like a game of football, then Newt Gingrich predicts Mitt Romney will lose the game in the second half. 

On the eve of the primaries in Mississippi and Alabama, the presidential candidate told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren he stands a “good chance” in both states Tuesday. However, he expects the vote to be so close that he’ll move on regardless of whether or not he wins either state.

“The biggest story tomorrow night's going to be simple: Governor Romney will get at most one out of every three delegates,” Gingrich said.

He called Romney the weakest frontrunner in over 90 years, and predicted the former Massachusetts governor will not be able to secure 1144 delegates necessary to lock up the nomination.

Responding to Carl Cameron's exclusive report that sources close to Gingrich were floating the idea of a possible Gingrich-Perry ticket, the candidate said he hasn’t “talked directly to Perry.”

“I think it's way to premature to talk to anybody about anything,” said Gingrich, who said he was more concerned with getting the nomination.

Already, the campaign is looking past Tuesday night’s results, issuing a press release Monday listing campaign stops in Illinois Wednesday and Thursday. Illinois holds its primary in a week.

But Gingrich is signaling the next prize he’s setting his sights on is Louisiana. The candidate told Van Susteren he looks forward to the primary there on March 24 and called the state “ another very important battlefield.”

“Think of Louisiana as the equivalent of halftime in a football game,” the candidate said. “The first half was actually better territory for Romney than the second half.  And I think as we go through the second half, it gets harder and harder for him to finally get to a majority.”

Gingrich is making domestic energy production the center of his platform.

On Monday night, he challenged the president to an energy debate after White House Press Secretary Jay Carney called his campaign promise of $2.50 a gallon gas a lie.

The former House Speaker has also been increasingly critical of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, telling Greta Van Susteren that he stands by his call for the “fastest, safest route to be able to pull out of the country” despite Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s concerns that a withdrawal of U.S. troops would put the women of Afghanistan in peril.

“Look, I think it's a tragic situation, but I don't see any evidence that Karzai is prepared to protect women,” Gingrich said. “I don't see any evidence that the Afghan government is prepared to fundamentally change the society.  And we're risking the lives of young men and women every single day in a mission that I don't understand -- given its current rules of engagement, given what we're currently doing, I don't see a path ahead that leads us to a dramatically changed Afghanistan.”