OTR Interviews

Gingrich still in it to win it, focuses on conservative principles and Nevada

GOP presidential candidate discusses what he learned from Florida voters, his campaign strategy beyond the Sunshine State

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," January 31, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, a distant second in Florida but he says he is not giving up. That he is the one conservative who could beat Mitt Romney. And he is already en route to Nevada.

Speaker Gingrich talked about his strategy with Griff Jenkins a short time before he took off from Florida headed to Nevada.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFF JENKINS, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: With respect specifically to Nevada, obviously, there's a large Mormon circle there. You are up against that. There is also a large tea party faction. It's soon to be more conservative. Is that your strategy?

NEWT GINGRICH, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, it's in the political I mentioned. But first of all, I don't think Mormons automatically vote monopoly. I think that there are a lot of folks who will look at Governor Romney's record which is even from Nevada, pretty far from at the left. And so, I think we'll get some folks and the Mormon community.

But, I also think there is a big Tea Party movement. There's a big conservative independent movement in Nevada. And so we hope to compete. You have to say that Nevada has a big advantage for Romney. He actually carried the state last time. That's when Tim Pawlenty's where he got the majority last time.

So, you have to think, there is a pretty good chance of doing that. But we're going to be very competitive.

JENKINS: You certainly turned up the heat on Governor Romney in South Carolina. You seem to perhaps back down a little better in terms of your fighting back. When you turn the heat back up going forward?

GINGRICH: I'd rather think that what we are going to do is try to be clear and try to clarify what choices are. You know, I would mean I have a record to having helped balance the budget for four consecutive years. I have a record of having health reform welfare that, the biggest entitlement reform in your lifetime. I have a record of twice having help create jobs once with Reagan, once with speaker.

So, you look at that. And Governor Romney is doing "RomneyCare," tax increases and Massachusetts ended up being third from bottom in job creation while he was governor but pretty big gap in those two things. So, I think what you'll see us try to do is offer people a clarification and make and really try to get him to stick to the facts. And to that point the race becomes very clear.

JENKINS: Potential game-changer, Rick Santorum. If he were to drop out, it will get support to you. Would that solidify?

GINGRICH: First of all, Rick has every right to run. I mean, for people told me in June and July I was dead. And I ignored them I said, run, so he has every right to run. And I think his strategy is to try to hang in to see if something happens. And that's legitimate.

From the conservative movement standpoint, what I would say to everybody else is Rick - fine. Let Rick. That's his prerogative. But I need you to join me. And so, we're going to try to appeal for every conservative to come together. Because if you look at the polling numbers here in Florida and you looked at South Carolina, it's pretty clear I'm the one conservative candidate who has enough momentum and has enough bases, that I can compete head to head with Romney and have a chance to beat him. We're proud of the fact that we have - Rick, as of today almost 156,000 donors. And that is a pretty big national base from which to be able to organize a campaign.

JENKINS: Donald Trump, he has gotten back in the news saying he'll endorse soon. Have you had conversations with him?

GINGRICH: No. I saw the Donald a few weeks ago in north New York. He has always capable of getting in the news. Obviously, if he does enforce I hope he endorses me. It will be a big help to have governor Palin say she would voted for me in South Carolina and in Florida. So, it has been big help that Todd Palin has actually doing phone calls for us.

So, it will be fun, I'd love him involved.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: And now, we go live to the Gingrich campaign headquarters in Orlando. Speaker Gingrich's daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman, joins us. Good evening, Jackie.

JACKIE GINGRICH CUSHMAN, NEWT GINGRICH'S DAUGHTER: Good evening, Greta. Thanks so much for having me on.

VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to have you. I imagine disappointed tonight, the numbers bad for your father in Florida. Any sort of reflection on this, so the post mortem?

CUSHMAN: Well, you know we're not very surprised at all. We knew even before we won South Carolina and as, you know, we won by 12 points there. We knew that coming into Florida would be a different race. The big state, very different demographics. I think as he mentioned in the segment before where there are a lot of money spent in Florida. I think we're outspent four or 5-1. So, we're not very surprised about the outcome.

But, I think you've heard from my father and what people heard from him tonight here at the hotel was really a vision for an optimistic America, an offer to work with people and to really create the bright future with conservative values that we need today.

VAN SUSTEREN: What is the strategy for winning in Nevada? And do you have money and ground game there already?

CUSHMAN: Well, couple of things. I mean, first of all we're raising more and more money every single day, every single week, every single month. And I think you'll see that continuing to happen as the conservative core kind coalesce drowned dead as he mentioned earlier in the segment.

And secondly, we already have people working out in the state. And again, you know, this is one of the states that actually went to Romney last time. So we don't want to set our sights too high.

Our goal is not to - because it's no longer, you know, after Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida, it becomes a multi state game. It's no longer one state after the other. But you really have you to look ahead to super Tuesday. You have to look all states that are going to be in play and we're very much looking forward to that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, if you are looking so that conventional wisdom looking ahead. I actually think it's sort of a rough schedule for you because you've got coming up the Minnesota caucuses. You got Governor Pawlenty who is - has endorsed to Governor Romney. You have Michigan coming up and I would assume with Romney connection in Michigan that he's at least got the leg up going into that one. So you have -- and you've got Missouri coming up and your father didn't make the ballot there. It's a beauty contest. But still it's like, you know this, is a rough couple weeks for your campaign. You've really got to look beyond it a little bit. Don't you?

CUSHMAN: Absolutely. I love the way you said a beauty contest. And I'm not sure -- clearly we don't want to run a beauty contest for anybody. This is a very serious fight. And we are in the stage now -- and dad is right.

You know, Senator Santorum has every right to run. He is a great guy. He has a lot of good work helping reform welfare under dad. But at this point, if you look at national figures, it's nationally there are two main candidates that is Governor Romney and my father, Newt Gingrich. And part of what this process is about is really honing the message, talking about the core conservative values. And I think the farther we go along clearer the contrast will be between my father, who, balanced a budget nationally and Governor Romney. He reformed welfare and cut spending and cut taxes and Governor Romney.

VAN SUSTEREN: Jackie, I talked to so many of the children of the candidates, this time and in 08. I always think that so rough on the candidates especially nights like this, because you love your father and it's tough to see him lose. I was so curios your thought how rough it is on you tonight?

CUSHMAN: Well, actually I mean, I'll be honest Greta. We had a great dinner before we came out. We are very upbeat. He delivered -- I'm sure you were probably watching, if not you were watching, his speech was out of the park. It was great. And so, we're very excited about where we are.

VAN SUSTEREN: I actually thought that listening to his speech. I mean, I was surprised he didn't congratulate Governor Romney. Why not?

CUSHMAN: Well, I think he's looking forward. I think he is now - I mean, we are glad he is on Florida and it did kind we know that the PAC down to the few, that we're still here tonight. And Governor Romney with here tonight and my father, but we're looking forward. This is the one of four states that we had and we're looking forward to other 46.

VAN SUSTEREN: But sort of the routine is that the candidates get up and they say, you know, congratulations to the winner, did ran a great race, see you in Nevada. He didn't say that. Did that indicate that he forget to? Or does it show how deep the wounds might be in Florida?

CUSHMAN: No. I love the fact you put routine and Newt Gingrich in the same sentence. And if you know, Dad is anything, but routine. So clearly, he's focused on the future ahead. And it didn't mean anything by that. But, he really is focused on moving forward.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did he call Governor Romney tonight?

CUSHMAN: I honestly don't know, Greta. I can't speak to that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Alright, so what are your plans? Are you heading off to Nevada?

CUSHMAN: We're heading that way. We are very excited to go there and see the people and we are looking forward to that. But again, this is a long trail and that is the next state beginning after that, there will be 45 more. So we're very excited about where we are. I really think he delivered an incredible speech and advise everyone to go look at it. He told me afterwards when I congratulated him. You know what? Look forward to the next phase of our campaign. And he had a big smile on his face.

VAN SUSTEREN: Jackie, thank you. Hope you'll come back.

CUSHMAN: Thank you so much.