Newt Gingrich on Sunday morning showed a single-minded focus on hammering Mitt Romney as a dishonest liberal.
New polls show Romney to be the clear front-runner by a widening lead among likely voters in Florida's primary on Tuesday -- but Gingrich attributed the former Massachusetts governor's lead to his "carpetbombing" of the state with negative ads.
"If you look at the three national polls every place elsewhere that he can't carpet bomb, we are pulling away from him in national polls," Gingrich told "Fox News Sunday."
Indeed, Gingrich tried to frame his performance in Florida not so much as a potential loss against Romney, but more as a lamentation that the conservative vote has been split.
"Down here one of the challenges, two major conservative candidates clearly beat Romney over splitting the conservative vote," Gingrich said, referring to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. Gingrich then noted that Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Herman Cain, two conservatives candidates who dropped out of the race, have endorsed him over Romney.
"The only way to stop the Massachusetts liberal is to vote for Newt Gingrich," the former House speaker told "Fox News Sunday."
Appearing on ABC's "This Week," Gingrich called the ads against him in Florida to be "breathtakingly dishonest."
Gingrich's comments on both programs were virtually identical, down to the hand movements he used to illustrate his points.
Holding his two forefingers right next to each other to show no daylight between then, Gingrich said on "This Week" -- as he similarly did on "Fox News Sunday" -- that "it's very hard to take Romneycare and Obamacare and have a debate and have the Republican win that debate. You need to have a conservative who is a very big distance away from Obama, because you've got to have the space so that, in fact, you can communicate with the American people."
UPDATE: 1:30 p.m. -- A new Gallup poll shows that Gingrich's broader national support has weakened overnight. Although the former speaker remains in the lead among GOP voters across the country, support for him has fallen 4 percentage points from 32 percent to 28 percent. Support for Romney remains unchanged at 26 percent.