WASHINGTON -- Predicting wins in Alabama and Mississippi this week, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) dismissed suggestions that it’s time for him to step aside in the race for the GOP presidential nomination, arguing that Mitt Romney is the worst Republican frontrunner in nearly a century.
"The Romney camp has been trying to say since last June that I should get out of race. The fact is, Romney is probably the weakest Republican frontrunner since Leonard Wood in 1920," Gingrich told host Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, referencing the Army general who lost to Warren G. Harding.
"Yes, he's the frontrunner, but he's not a very strong frontrunner, nearly all conservatives are opposed to him," Gingrich added. "In places where no one else can compete ... he does fine."
The nomination is looking increasingly distant for Gingrich, who would need to win nearly 70 percent of the outstanding delegates in order to clinch it. And although he's won only two states, Gingrich dodged the question of whether or not he'd toss in the towel if he failed to pick up both Mississippi and Alabama -- states where he's been polling well.
"I think we'll win both," Gingrich said. "I think we're probably pulling ahead in both states."
Asked whether he should follow some conservatives' call to step aside and give Rick Santorum a one-on-one shot against former Massachusetts Gov. Romney, Gingrich argued that Santorum didn't have the conservative credentials. Gingrich knocked the former Pennsylvania senator for allowing the federal deficit to grow under his watch.
"This is someone who had Washington change him," Gingrich said of Santorum. "To just put a label 'conservative' on it and assume that covers everything ... It's a principled difference, not just a label."
Gingrich reiterated his claims that he could quickly get the cost of a gallon of gas down to $2.50, telling Wallace he could accomplish that goal "within two years, maybe faster." Several energy experts have questioned such claims, given that even an onslaught of domestic drilling probably wouldn't affect gas prices for several years.