Gingrich calls S. Carolina 'Armageddon'

COLUMBIA, S.C., Jan. 16 (UPI) -- As the South Carolina primary nears, Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich has mounted a hard-nosed campaign to try to best front-runner Mitt Romney.

In faceoffs in Iowa and New Hampshire, Gingrich finished in the back of the pack and is doing what he can to ensure Saturday's primary won't be his third poor showing, CNN reported.


During the weekend, two conservative politicians in South Carolina -- U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and U.S. Rep. Tim Scott -- predicted that if Romney wins the state's primary, he will have effectively locked down the GOP nomination.

The former House speaker has prepared every political weapon he has -- television ads, rallies, surrogates crisscrossing the state -- and told CNN he is determined to beat the Republican front-runner.

"This is going to be Armageddon. They are going to come in here with everything they've got, every surrogate, every ad, every negative attack," Gingrich told CNN last week. "At the same time we'll be drawing a sharp contrast between a Georgia Reagan conservative and a Massachusetts moderate who's pro-gun control, pro-choice, pro-tax increase, pro-liberal judge, and the voters of South Carolina will have to look and decide."


His sharp attacks -- including chastising Romney for his leadership at Bain Capital and tying his work to job losses -- prompted members of his party to say Gingrich has gone too far by launching they consider an assault on capitalism.

But Gingrich's take-no-prisoners approach seems to be working, CNN reported. The latest American Research Group poll of likely South Carolina GOP primary voters indicates Romney at 29 percent and Gingrich in a close second at 25 percent.

At a forum in Duncan late last week, Gingrich warned of the peril of not coalescing around one conservative candidate.

"If we end up splitting the conservative vote," he said, "we're going to stumble into nominating somebody that 95 percent of the people in this room are going to be very uncomfortable with."

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