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CBS "Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer" - Transcript

Interview

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And to talk a little politics, I want to turn now to Newt Gingrich, because the big story this weekend is campaign 2012. 419 delegates up for grabs on Super Tuesday. The contest will be held in 10 states, including Virginia, Vermont, North Dakota, Ohio, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Idaho, Alaska and Georgia.

The man the Atlanta Constitution says is leading in his home state now by double digits is Mr. Gingrich.

So let me ask you, Mr. Speaker, if you don't win in Georgia, what does that do? I mean, you have said you've got to win it. But would that mean it would be it if you don't win down there?

GINGRICH: Oh, sure. I said, I think with you a couple of weeks ago that Romney had to win Michigan, that I had to win Georgia, and that Santorum has to win Pennsylvania. I think you lose all credibility if the folks who know you best repudiate you.

And I think that will lead to a very spirited campaign in Georgia, which we've had. I've been at home campaigning pretty hard the last few days. And I'll be back to the Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday morning before I go to Huntsville. And in addition, it means that you have -- you know, I think Senator Santorum is going to find Pennsylvania is very competitive for him, too. So all of us have to, I think, focus in on carrying our home states.

SCHIEFFER: Well, you're looking very good in Georgia according to the polls. It looks like Santorum and Governor Romney are kind of neck in neck out there in Ohio. Santorum seems to have a lead in both Tennessee and Oklahoma.

How do you see Super Tuesday shaking down? What would you expect to see Wednesday morning as you looks back on it?

GINGRICH: Oh, I think there will be basically Santorum and Romney in the lead, me in third place, but coming back and gaining ground. If you look at the Gallup numbers, for example, I closed the gap on Santorum pretty dramatically in the last two and a half weeks. You know this is the seventh time as you and I have talked about it, this is the seventh time I've been through this up and down cycle. We survived Pawlenty, and Bachmann, and Donald Trump, and then Cain, then Perry, then Cain again, and now Santorum. So we wanted to keep -- twice I've been the frontrunner.

And by focusing on big ideas like a national energy strategy and American energy strategy with 2.50 a gallon gasoline and an ability to say no future president will ever again bow to a Saudi king, I think I'm beginning to come back to my real job which is to be sort of the visionary conservative who offers bigger, better solutions for the future. That's what I do best. And twice that's put me in the lead nationally, and now I have got to convert that into delegates.

SCHIEFFER: So you see multiple winners on Super Tuesday. And I take it you're thinking if you win in Georgia, then that gives you a good chance in Alabama and Mississippi. So you don't see this thing ending any time soon.

Do you think there's a chance anybody else will get in to this race?

GINGRICH: I think it would be very hard for anybody else to get in the race. We chatted briefly when we were doing -- Governor Huckabee's forum, and Romney and Santorum and I chatted just for a minute or two together. And we all agree that, you know, the American people expect somebody to come out and earn it the hard way. Lots of people look really good sitting at home being talked about. They don't look as good once they get on the campaign trail as you know because you've covered it for so many years.

This is a rough and tumble business. And I think one the three of us is going to end up being the nominee. And my hope, of course, is that as people get attracted to things like $2.50 gas, then we now have over 173,000 donors, 95 percent under $250.

We keep growing, we keep getting stronger. Governor Perry has told me that he thinks I'll carry Texas the last weekend of May by a huge margin, which would lead into California, our biggest state, the following week where we already have 17 Hispanic co-chairs statewide in California and a number of folks in the Korean and Chinese and Thai and Vietnamese communities. So we're reaching out across all of California.

So my hope would be to go into the summer as the guy who could best debate Barack Obama.

And a lot of these delegates are not legally bound. There are a lot of opportunities to go back and rediscuss this.

SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask you about something. You know, Governor Romney has been hitting and you and Senator Santorum for being "creatures of Washington," as he put it. And he has criticized you for going after millions of dollars in federal earmarks.

But we have gotten a hold of a video that was taken back in 2002 when he was taking a very different tack. He was telling a group then that he knew how to get federal money and he wasn't bashful about going after it. He was also proud of how much money that he got for the Olympics.

I'd just like to play a little of this for you and see what you have to say about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm a big believer in getting money where the money is. And the money is in Washington. And I've learned from my Olympic experience that if you have people that really understand how Washington works and have personal associations there, you can get money to help build economic development opportunities.

And I want to go after every grant, every project, every department in Washington to assure that we're taking advantage of economic development opportunities.

We actually received over $410 million from the federal government for the Olympic Games. That is a huge increase over anything ever done before. We did that by going after every agency of government.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHIEFFER: So your thoughts?

GINGRICH: I think the reason Governor Romney can't convert all of his financial advantages, six years of campaigning, $40 million of personal donations, outspent of rest of us probably 10 to 1, he can't convert it into closing the deal because there's a breathtaking scale of dishonesty underlying the Romney campaign.

This is the perfect example. What he said was perfectly reasonable. Here's a guy who did a great job going to Washington. He is the consummate insider. He is the establishment candidate. He should thank the American people for saving the Winter Olympics, because it's their money he used to do it.

That's fine. But then he has the gall to turn to Rick Santorum and me for doing what he's so proud he did. And I think this is the kind of fundamental dishonesty that has just continued to come back and bite the Romney campaign.

Every time they ought to close the deal, the American people stop and say, wait a second, there's something fundamentally false about his premise.

The other example is this fight with the Catholic Church. Governor Romney insisted that Catholic hospitals give out abortion pills. It came out of the governor's office. And what he said in the last debate about it was just fundamentally false.

Eventually all of these falsehoods catch up with you. That video is a perfect example. And it's really sad. I mean, if he had just run as who he really is, he might well get the nomination, and he would have gotten it authentically as the person he is, not the person he's pretending to be.

SCHIEFFER: Well, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you for being with us this morning. I hope you'll come back to see us again.

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