ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Standing outside the Maryland state capitol building on Tuesday, Newt Gingrich fantasized about what it would be like if no candidate won a majority of delegates and the GOP nominee had to be decided at an open convention in August.
“I think you’ll then have one of the most interesting open conventions in American history,” Gingrich told a gathering of reporters.
He then fantasized about how a “60-day dialogue on television, radio, the internet all the way up to Tampa” would take place if no candidate won the necessary 1,144 delegates and how it would best suit someone like him — a skillful debater.
“The question will be asked is, ‘who can best beat Barack Obama?’ And at that point, I think most Republicans would probably agree that I would probably do a better job debating Obama than any other candidate and I think it becomes a very viable, very lively campaign,” Gingrich said.
The former House Speaker made it clear he has no intention to leave the race, even though he’s lagging behind both former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum in the delegate race.
“We’ll be campaigning all the way through Tampa.”
But he also admitted that he’d drop out of the race if Romney wins a majority before the convention.
“If he gets a majority, obviously I’ll support him and we’ll be delighted to do everything I can to help defeat Barack Obama,” he said.
Gingrich also said during the press availability that former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour — an influential leader in the party — has encouraged him to stay in the race.
“I talked to Haley Barbour the other day,” Gingrich said. “I thanked him for having very graciously pointing out that he voted for me in the Mississippi primary, which I thought was a very nice gesture from one of the smartest guys. And he said to me at that point, ‘there’s no reason not to go on.’”
“The race is going to go on,” Gingrich said.