Sunday, January 15, 2012

Transcript: 'Meet the Press' (1-15-12)

Full transcript. Excerpt below:

MR. GREGORY: Let's, let's start there because you laid it out this week. You said there's one way to stop Romney in South Carolina, this is what you said to Fox News.

(Videotape, Thursday)

FMR. REP. GINGRICH: If we consolidate conservatives, we could beat Romney by a big margin.

(End videotape)

MR. GREGORY: We've heard from social conservatives in Texas, they're saying let's get behind Rick Santorum. Do you feel pressure to consolidate behind Santorum?
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MR. GREGORY: Perhaps get out of the race?

FMR. REP. GINGRICH: Well, I think that report was very highly exaggerated. We basically split that group. I got a very good number of votes and I think as of noon today that Reverend Jim Garlow and Congressman J.C. Watts and others who were there are going to be talking and I think they'll indicate that I have very strong support from Christian conservatives and social conservatives and that that support continues. There was an agreement, the one consensus was that virtually no one was for Mitt Romney. But in fact, there was a very strong Santorum group and there was a very strong Gingrich group at that particular meeting, and the Gingrich folks are still very much for me and they'll be speaking up starting at about noon today.

MR. GREGORY: But isn't this the issue? I mean, if you just look at the raw numbers here and look at the politics, there's not one alternative to Mitt Romney. There's several of you who are vying for that evangelical vote down in South Carolina. We've seen this movie before, four years ago. Doesn't that help Romney?

FMR. REP. GINGRICH: Sure. Well, it does--it does help him. And I think the only way that a Massachusetts moderate can get through South Carolina is if the vote is split. But we have six days to make our case to people and I think somebody who generally people agree was the best debater so far, I think I have the best chance to beat Obama. I think I also have the like--the greatest likelihood given the past to actually change Washington. And as The Wall Street Journal pointed out, I have the boldest and most aggressive pro-jobs plan, as well as a record working with Reagan and working as speaker with Bill Clinton of actually having created large numbers of jobs. So we're going to be making our case to national security conservatives, social conservatives and economic conservatives that this--that Newt Gingrich is the best candidate to defeat President Obama. And I think we're doing pretty darn well down here.

MR. GREGORY: So your feeling is that despite what the social conservative group said over the weekend, Rick Santorum doesn't have any more momentum here? He's not the obvious conservative alternative choice to Romney?

FMR. REP. GINGRICH: No. I think the fact is if you look at the actual vote yesterday that we were very close in the vote and that, in fact, the folks who'll be speaking out starting at noon today, Congressman J.C. Watts, Reverend Jim Garlow and others, are very committed to my candidacy and I think we will go into the next week, this last week of the campaign with a large amount of momentum here. The polls have all shown consistently that I am the strongest rival to Romney in South Carolina and I think that the debate tomorrow night will be a very important part of that and the debate Thursday night will be a very important part of that. And I think it's going to be a very, very lively week, one of the most important weeks in the history of the GOP because I think nominating somebody who is essentially a Massachusetts moderate makes it much harder to defeat President Obama and nominating somebody who is a Reagan conservative makes it much easier to defeat President Obama.

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