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Newt Gingrich In Florida Primary: I'm Not Charlie Crist

Charlie Crist

First Posted: 01/22/2012 10:59 am Updated: 01/22/2012 12:58 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Newt Gingrich's large win in Saturday's South Carolina primary has led, inevitably, to the follow-up question: Can he parlay that moment into victory in the upcoming Florida primary?

There are obvious obstacles confronting the former House speaker. Florida is a much larger state with multiple media markets -- meaning that a candidate with actual money has a better chance of succeeding than one operating off of momentum. Add to that the absentee ballot advantages that Mitt Romney enjoys -- according to the Miami Herald, more than 185,400 absentee ballots have been cast so far -- and the fact that the Romney campaign has been running ads in the Sunshine State for weeks now, and it makes for an uphill battle for Gingrich.

So how does he win? Gingrich, on "Meet The Press" Sunday morning, said that in Florida, his case would be pretty "simple."

"You have a clear establishment candidate in Mitt Romney," he said. "Look where his money comes from, look at his background, look at what he did in Massachusetts."

On this front, Gingrich should get a nice assist from an allied super PAC, Winning Our Future.

In an interview with MSNBC Sunday morning, Rick Tyler, Gingrich's longtime spokesman who now helps head the super PAC, laid out a simple plan for the week ahead: tie Romney to Charlie Crist, the one-time beloved Florida governor who lost both his popularity and chances of serving in the Senate seat when he chose to be the moderate alternative to Tea Partier-turned-senator Marco Rubio.

"There's been a winnowing out of the conservative contenders," said Tyler. "I think Newt is now the only one left standing. So, if 75 percent of the party doesn't want Mitt and the Republican Party is acting like nominating Mitt is like getting a wildcat into a trash can, then I think the job is simple. We simply align Newt Gingrich with the 75 percent who don't want Mitt. I think here in Florida, all we have to do is remind people that Mitt Romney is Charlie Crist. If you voted for Charlie Crist, then you should vote for Mitt. If you didn't vote for Charlie Crist, then you should vote for Newt."

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