Gingrich calls Romney ‘a pro-abortion, pro-gun-control, pro-tax-increase liberal’

Chris Moody

LUTZ, Fla.--With just two days left to campaign before voters go to the polls in Florida's Republican primary, Newt Gingrich unleashed some of his harshest criticism of Mitt Romney yet.

"This party is not going to nominate somebody who is a pro-abortion, pro-gun-control, pro-tax-increase liberal," Gingrich told reporters Sunday after he attended a morning service at a Baptist church. "It's not going to happen."

Gingrich, who has been telling crowds in Florida that if he wins the state he will go on to secure the party's nomination, downplayed new polls showing him trailing Mitt Romney by double digits in this state and repeated his vow to stay in the race until the party convention in August.

"I think that the election will be substantially closer than the two polls that came out this morning," Gingrich said. "You'll notice that 48 hours ago there was another poll that showed us tied."

"I think there are a lot of things going on," he added. "But the most significant thing in both polls this morning is that when you add the two conservatives together, we clearly beat Romney"--a reference to the combined support for Gingrich and Rick Santorum.

Romney received the support of 42 percent of likely Republican voters in Florida in a new NBC News/Marist poll, taken between Jan. 25 and Jan. 27. Gingrich was 15 percentage points behind, at 27 percent, while Santorum received the support of 16 percent of the poll's respondents. Ron Paul was at 11 percent. The margin of error was plus or minus 5.5 percentage points.

Another survey, conducted from Jan 24 to Jan. 26 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research on behalf of several Florida news outlets, put Romney at 42 percent, with Gingrich at 31 percent and Santorum at 14 percent. Ron Paul came in fourth at 6 percent. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

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