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Wolf Blitzer delivers the most important breaking news and political, international, and national security stories of the day. Tune to The Situation Room weekdays 5-7pm ET on CNN.

January 18th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: Gingrich tells me he smells victory

By Wolf Blitzer, CNN

Charleston, South Carolina (CNN) – All of a sudden, this contest is getting very exciting.

In these final days before Saturday’s Republican presidential primary, the gap between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich seems to be narrowing - if you believe the latest polls. That has certainly encouraged Gingrich, who tells me he now smells the possibility of victory on Saturday.

If that were to happen, the drama would certainly intensify going into the Florida primary on January 31.

During my interview with Gingrich today, he seemed confident. “I think by Saturday we’ll be ahead and depending on how many conservatives come home, we could be ahead by a pretty comfortable margin,” Gingrich said.

He knows that the millions spent by the pro-Romney super PAC in Iowa hurt him badly. He’s now going after Romney with a new, more assertive aggression. And it seems to be paying off.

For his part, Gingrich tells me he won the GOP debate Monday night in Myrtle Beach, and that has encouraged undecided Republicans to vote for him Saturday. That sets the stage for the CNN debate Thursday here in Charleston.

The former House speaker also told me that he was delighted Sarah Palin said she’d vote for him in the primary if she lived in South Carolina.

“I would ask her to consider taking a major role in the next administration if I’m president,” he said.

By the way, the political attack ads on television here are intense. I watched TV this morning and even I - a hardened political news junkie - was surprised by how tough they are.

If Gingrich wins here Saturday, the stakes for Florida will intensify. This is exciting.

Watch Wolf Blitzer's interview with Newt Gingrich today during the 5 p.m. ET hour of "The Situation Room."

CNN/Time/ORC Poll – South Carolina, Florida

Follow Wolf Blitzer on Twitter: @WolfBlitzerCNN

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Filed under: 2012 election • Newt Gingtich • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. justin

    why is no one getting a response for newts exes interview. i want answers

    January 22, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  2. Junior

    Go Newt, you are the best within a weak bunch of candidates. Obama will win if the economy improves but it will be very educational to watch you debate him. Two ver smart people on stage; an economy conservative and an economy social demograt. It could be a great educational oprtunity for us all. With Mitt, no so much; he is a bore.

    January 18, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  3. Tough USA

    Newt is total Filth. The media and GOP should be ashamed for even letting him on the platform. Total Filth. The DNC is having a field day with this. Total Filth.....

    January 18, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
  4. Emmy Skaddittle

    that is some smell, but it sure isn't victory. Watch your step

    January 18, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain

    What Newtsie is smelling is the stench of his own life.

    January 18, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  6. Shelby

    Marty Weixel : "Newt will use anybody to get elected."

    Yes, even sarah palin, who is happily jumping on newton's bandwagon, despite newt's treatment of women–specifically his treatment of his former wives. newton said (reported in a Dec. 27 CNN story) of his first wife: "'You know and I know that she's not young enough or pretty enough to be the wife of a president,". What a condescending cold creep. newton you need to learn that women should be treated with respect. We are not inferior to you!

    And BTW newton, have you looked at yourself in the mirror?

    January 18, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  7. phil jeffries

    Romney will win, Romney will be our next President. ANY of the GOP runners will be better than Obama. He is ruining our country, our freedom and our way of life.

    January 18, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  8. Paulet

    Today I saw Romney saying he wanted to turn things around - what is his estimate, or other candidates of how long their plan to turn the economy and have jobs for people actually take so that it's we can see it happening. Two years, 3 years?? First year in not doing anything until fall and then what - will they attack the economy first or fight to repeal healthcare - won't they just put us back 3 years if we are finally making headway?? would like to see this asked the candidates. How long would it take to implement their plans and when would we start seeing a difference.

    January 18, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  9. FrankinSD

    I know that as a Democrat I should be pulling for Newt. But even though it would virtually guarantee Obama's re-election, I can't wish that on the party of Lincoln and TR (much as they deserve it). Besides, with the trend in voter demographics, Obama will swamp Romney anyway and all of the Dems know it. You just can't get responsible Democrats to admit it.

    January 18, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • WV

      You mean the trend of those going independent? I think more and more people are disassociating themselves with a party; they, like me, are getting tired of the "party first", citizens second. And if you think the Democrats are there to get your back you have another thing coming.......

      January 18, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  10. Wyatt in Chuco

    To me, it's a toss-up. My lunch, that is. . .

    January 18, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  11. Marty Weixel

    Mitt will say anything to get elected, Newt will use anybody to get elected.

    January 18, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Maria

      everything is fair, then suddenly nyoane without a view the Right approves of is unAmerican? It is the diversity of our views and our right to have them that makes American in the first place. If the United States wanted to go in the direction of policies you dont favor, as a majority, as long as minority rights are respected, as they are in a Republic, then that is what America is about ultimately going in the direction it wants to go, and if it wants to go in your direction, fine, if most agree it is the toleration that is key to being an American, so I wont ask the obvious question of you.You really think there is equity already? Then why do we have these problems? All the jobs are filled, people want to work, we cant grow the economy without spending but jobs go abroad or for low wage hear, while many want to throw out the tomato and strawberry pickers but wont do that work themselves, and I guess are expecting me?The playing field is not level. Here are some ways to make it so: TERM LIMITS NEXT TERM RESTORE WARTIME DRAFT MONEY OUT FEDERAL ELECTIONS RELOCATE BASES TO SEAL SOUTHERN BORDER Convene Constitutional Convention Now Personal Liability Waivers (Obamacare, TSA pat downs using non-TSA personnel in other airlines with people that agree with you; dont want to wear a helmet or fasten your seatbelt? Have a sticker on your license plate that you have health insurance so fixing your brain will not cost someone else)

      April 3, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  12. Marty Weixel

    Newt is the shining new converted Catholic.....amazing.

    January 18, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Mr. Izz

      You're kidding me, right? The guy that changes religions as often as people change hats? The one here who is obviously superior when it comes to a moral stance on marriage? If I were Catholic, I'd be embarrassed. He has affairs, he cheats, he lies, and does all manner of terrible things. If you want to support him because of his religion(s), then you really are blind to the character of Newt Gingrich.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  13. Kelly

    The failing economics of the country right now are completely explained by Austrian Economic theory, but no one seems to want to recognize or hear the voice of reason coming from Ron Paul.

    January 18, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  14. joesmith

    does not surprise me, blitzer gives credibility to gingrich, after all, the super-pacs, sponsored by Sheldon Adelson via Benjiman Netanyaho of Israel, falls right into the puzzle, as ginrich denounced the west bank, and is open to continued is Adelson, and Netanyaho..peas in a pod..but, this is a US election, and the people of the United States will decide..not those with dual citizenships, and prop up AIPAC every chance they get..blitzer won't tell you the whole story..go Ron Paul..

    January 18, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  15. botwiddly

    Newt would give Palin a "major" role in his administration? Oh, what a pandering sack of santorum.

    That is reason enough not to consider him a fit candidate (as If we needed anymore reasons).

    January 18, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  16. Joe

    Here's enough reason not to vote for him:

    The former House speaker also told me that he was delighted Sarah Palin said she’d vote for him in the primary if she lived in South Carolina.

    “I would ask her to consider taking a major role in the next administration if I’m president,” he said.

    January 18, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  17. Martin

    Just the fact that he'd even consider Sarah Palin for a "major role in the next administration if elected" shows that he doesn't have the sound judgement needed to be President.

    I guess a Speaker who resigned under a cloud of ethics investigations could probably work well with a former Governor who resigned under a cloud of ethics investigations, though.

    I would still want Sarah Palin to adequately explain WHY she resigned as Governor. At the time she quit, she said that she would give a press conference about why she resigned at a later date, something that she has NEVER done.

    January 18, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  18. john

    Get ready,, lol a Newt/Palin ticket and you think you have problems now ....

    January 18, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  19. Kurt

    Only Newt Gingrich has the wear-with-all and experience to unite Congress and move this country forward without spending 2 years looking for the broom closet and trying to figure out what it is he's been elected to do.

    January 18, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  20. G.A.R.

    With all the candidates in S.C. the question comes to mind,........... were is Gen. Sherman when you need him?? 😉

    January 18, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  21. Thomas

    Gingrich or Romney = Disaster for America!

    I second that !

    January 18, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  22. LRL

    Giving Palin "a major role" in anything basically seals the deal that Gingrich, for all his "intellectual" bluster, is a dangerous, disingenuous man. Then again, Romney is the very definition of disingenuous. Good luck in November, Republicans!

    January 18, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  23. Amen

    Romney and Gingrich are two heads of an animal with the two heads fighting with each other for food to feed the same belly. Romney is a self centred and selfish man who does not care about the worker or average American. While Gingrich is only trying his luck because of his tainted political image. He looks like an over fed cat.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  24. vicky

    Gingrich needs to curb his bragging over his involvement during the Reagan administration. It was Reaganomics that threw our Country in a ditch.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  25. shoegazer

    South Carolina can be thankful Sarah Palin isn't one of the denizens,and why would it matter that she would vote for Newt if she did inhabit the state.Surely she can't be thought of as relevant any longer.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  26. TJ

    I also might add that we need to keep in mind what the big news agencies (like CNN) have to lose if Romney wraps up the race in January. They would love to see this primary season go on in uncertainty for the next four months. Of course Wolf is excited. He thinks he sees a way for CNN's ratings to stay high for the first quarter of 2012.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  27. John

    Anybody but Oblahma..and I'm a happy person.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  28. anagram_Kid

    I am counting down the days until Mr. Gingrich ‘suspends his campaign’(Republican-speak for having one’s hat handed to them). In any event I look forward to his carefully constructed and verbose rational of why he will be backing Romney after all the vitriol exchanged between them.

    Obama 2012 – Because logic rises above the absurdity of the modern GOP

    January 18, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  29. Ken in MD

    The victory he smells is someone else's.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Christian

      Where did you ever get that idea? Ron Paul has more support from our ivtace military than all the other candidates combined including Obama. Do you think that they are all idiots and don't know what they are doing? Start talking to some of the returning vets about what they think of the wars in Iraq and Afganistan and you might be in for a rude awakening. The troops on the ground know what is going on in those countries and it isn't good.Ron Paul is for a STRONG DEFENSE of this country and it's borders, not the borders of Pakistan and Libya. I would by far rather that we only went to war with Congressional approval and then went in to wen and get out. No more of this policing the world and letting the other countries push their defense bills onto us.

      April 4, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  30. Vernon

    Just shocking to hear all these negative remarks! Oops sorry I just realized I'm on a liberal blog! Is it true the Democratic party thinks the govt should besides take care all our needs. But also should wipe our butts too! Maybe if our younger generation should get out there and work at some low paying jobs. Get that experience of doing something. If you disagree go and call your parents and ask them what they think.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  31. TJ

    The fact that Gingrich would even consider letting Sarah Palin near the next administration is enough to convince me to vote for someone else.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  32. Val in MA

    That is what he said before Iowa and even before New Hampshire when his plan was to stop Romney. Didn't work then – will not work now. It's not like what egomaniac Newt says it will be. Newt is in for big disappointment come Saturday. It will be sad to watch his concession speech, hopefully he will be "bold" enough to fold his tent after South Carolina. My prediction, when this is all over Newt will go down in history as an outcast of the Republican Party for going after free enterprise the way he did.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  33. whobeehe

    Mitt Romney is an opportunist who seeks out weaknesses in system to exploit them. That is how he got rich and how he plans to steal the republican nomination.

    If you are a republican and you nomnate Romney, plan to hold your nose every time you visit Washington for the next 4 years.

    Mitt Romney is simply not electable.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  34. Art

    Ron Paul will win.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  35. Lynn Otting

    Newt is the only republican that can win debates with O'bama. He can overcome his past baggage with conviction and the determination to make such attacks meaningless. His ideas and intelligence far outweigh any negative attacks about his past.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  36. Hobby Historian

    Dr. Goebbels told ol' Adolf in early 1945 that the death of FDR promised 'victory', too. We all know how well that went. But the stuff you hope for in desperation suddenly looks real, until it all crashes again.
    Frankly, none of the remaining hopefuls of the GOP smell particularly rosy. Newt's fall should be appropriately cushioned by his boyish beee.hind. It'll be : splash, a good laugh for us and good riddance.
    Sighing, then we'll have to put up with the rest until it's all settled in November.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  37. Tyceson

    Its a shame that both Gingrich and Romney are cut from the same cloth.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Kurt

      I will absolutely NOT vote for Mitt Romney. If Mitt Romney, the architect of Obama Care is the only choice the Republican Party will be able to offer, than I will have to vote for the Democratic candidate for President, which is something that I have never done before.
      Desperate republican voter in California.

      January 18, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  38. Bill

    What would you expect Newt to say, Wolf? Think he's gonna say he thinks he'll lose? Wow!!! This is excititing.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Noah Braun

      well he isnt saying, oh a good 2nd place showing would be a win for us or saying he's hoping for like 4th place or higher

      January 18, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  39. Jon

    Gingrich is a train wreck waiting to happen.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • jparker77

      If elected Gingrich said he would give Sarah Palin " a very big seat at my table "

      January 18, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  40. Jongill

    Political attack ads are nothing to be concerned about since Obama is a shoo in anyway. Does anyone believe that Mitt 15% Romney cares about the average citizen of this great nation? He's a fat cat from the word go, and will only line his pockets and the pockets of his clique with $'s.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • notbobut

      Nobody believes that Mitt cares about the people, of course the same is true of Obama so its irrelevant. Obama and Romney are both fake, plastic liars that know nothing about governing and everything about gaming the system. Continue on with your fantasy that Obama is somehow not a politician like Romney of Newt!

      January 18, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  41. westward

    That statement from Newt is just 'ripe' for a ton of jokes. But I'm not surprised – this guy has an ego the size of a pregnant blimp. In the end – his record and/OR his bravado will decide his fate.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  42. Benjamin

    Typical manufacturing of news - Romney is going to win SC easily. It would only be too sweet if Gingrich or Santorum could toss up the whole primary season, but it's just not going to happen. A ten point gap is too massive so soon before the SC primary.

    January 18, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  43. Lynn Otting

    Mittt Romnry will not win an election against Barack O'bama. Rominey is an elite millionaire who pays less (percentqage iwise) in income tax than the average american. Average voters will not vote for another rich elite millionaire like Bush. Eventhough, republicans want to view the Bain company as capitalism at its best, I seriously doubt most average voters will think making billions of dollars at the expense of closing small town manufacturing companies is anything but capitalism at its worst. The national polls may show Romney as the candidate that could beat O'bama, but once americans know Romney, those numbers will drop dramatically. If Republilcans want a candidate that can beat O'bama, then they better start voting for someone with conviction rather that someone with the big money behind him.

    Lynn Otting

    January 18, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • joan

      and who, pray tell, would that be? I don't see anyone in the current GOP field that fits your description. Maybe if they draft Colin Powell, but he's too smart to run.

      January 18, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • steve

      Oh I guess Gingrich has no money then and is no millionaire, look at his house and his credit lines. Maybe at that point you might wake up and head back to your own planet.

      January 19, 2012 at 6:07 am |
      • Lynn Otting

        Gingrich didn't own a company that made billions of dollars in profit at the expense of small town manufacturing companies. Regardless of income, Newt knows how to find solutions to problems which he has proven time and time again in congress. If I have to choose between someone who knows how to fight to get a job done or someone who pretends to be something he is not, then my choice is obvious. The latter has been tried and has failed miserably.

        January 20, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Svetlana

      Ron Paul is without ieqstuon an isolationist and is a few cards short of a deck. I can't wait to see how the welfare case living in public housing at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave avoids a debate with Newt. Mr Gingrich will eviscerate the occupant so delightfully.In fact the only current candidate I don't like is Ron Paul, though many things he supports regarding specific department elimination and the constitution makes sense, his total lack of any cogent foreign policy scares the hell out of me, relegating him to fringe candidacy.Go Newt!!!!

      April 7, 2012 at 3:41 am |
  44. Little Tin God

    Ask Newt if he plans on being as arrogant in office as he is now. Also ask him if he plans on going on a diet before taking office. After all, isn't the President of the United States supposed to set a good example for healthy living?

    January 18, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  45. V in Chicago

    That's not victory he's smelling . . . It's delusion!

    January 18, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  46. Little Tin God

    Go Newt go!!

    January 18, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  47. Kevin

    Newt? How confident are you that you will be able to beat Mr. Romney before November? (See Picture above for answer)

    January 18, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  48. daveinla

    One thing Gingrich wont be smelling is the Las Vegas buffet because he will not make it to Nevada.

    January 18, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  49. JohnRJ08

    I'm happy for you, Wolf. I'm glad your "excited" about this clown show over in South Carolina. Although I do wonder why, as an alleged journalist, you never seem to question any of the half-truths and outright lies that are being spewed by these second-rate politicians. None of them are fit to be president of anything except maybe the local Rotary Club. But, again, anything that floats your boat, Wolfie.

    January 18, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  50. Norbert Maska

    Seriously? Exciting?

    January 18, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  51. Jay

    Gingrich doesn't stand a chance with Independent voters – he saw his prime years way back when and he won't be the nominee – if he is you might as well not hold elections in November the US gets stuck with Obama! Gingrich is next to last thing this country needs – Palin being last! I'd even take that nutty Bachman chick over Newt! He needs to go to a retirement village in Georgia and never be heard from again!

    January 18, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • dutchala

      This Independent who voted for Obama plans to vote for Newt!

      January 18, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  52. Enigma

    Gingrich or Romney = Disaster for America!

    January 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  53. Duke One

    Anybody but RINO ROMNEY !!

    January 18, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Tomoko

      Despite the obsession with the Individual Mandate, it is not the crux of the Obamacare angst. The crux is the evetoakr, by the Federal Govt, of a whole sector of the economy that needs to be governed as a free market (which it is not, at present). In addition, the COST of Obamacare was deceitfully uber-understated in another example of Washington corruption. As an aside, the amount of new bureaucracy dedicated to minority coddling and class warfare is ridiculous.This is the NUMBER ONE issue in the 2012 election, and if the GOP candidate cannot convince us that it is his (or hers), it will probably blow the election open with a third party a true disaster.However, Obamacare is really NUMBER TWO the true NUMBER ONE issue is BHO, and he must go.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:32 am |
  54. twoifbysea

    If you choose change, you will have a nominee who doesn't just tell people what they want to hear," Obama told them. "Poll-tested positions, calculated answers might be how Washington confronts challenges, but it's not how you overcome those challenges; it's not how you inspire our nation to come together behind a common purpose, and it's not what America needs right now. You need a candidate who will tell you the truth.
    These are Obama's words about defeating Hillary.
    Perhaps the bold truth Newt is brave enough to tell would galvanize Republicans more than the polite approach of Romney.

    January 18, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • notbobut

      If what people want is the unvarnished truth his name is Dr. Ron Paul, Obama wouldn't know the truth if it slapped in him in the face!

      January 18, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  55. Little Tin God

    He may smell something, but it certainly isn't victory.

    January 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  56. Griff

    "That must be because he was stood next to Romney at some time?"

    January 18, 2012 at 4:02 pm |

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