By Danny Yadron
MILNER, Ga. — Newt Gingrich said Sunday that he does not need Mitt Romney to quit the presidential race to press his own struggling campaign all the way to the Republican National Convention this summer.
That would seem to be a departure from his spokesman, R.C. Hammond, who has been telling reporters lately that “for a Gingrich candidacy to advance to Tampa, Mitt Romney cannot be in the race.”
“R.C. was joking,” Mr. Gingrich told reporters here. “Of course we can go to Tampa with Mitt in the race.”
A reporter then noted that Mr. Hammond has said the opposite multiple times. Mr. Gingrich replied, “I know. He was joking multiple times.”
Mr. Gingrich suggested a scenario where all four of the remaining GOP candidates show up at the convention and that it would be “like the NCAA Final Four with no elimination.”
If nothing, it illustrates the expectations game Mr. Gingrich’s campaign is now playing as he trails in public support and fund-raising. Few envision a scenario where Mr. Romney drops out of the race before the convention.
Mr. Gingrich did, however, stress it was important that he wins Georgia, his home state, on Super Tuesday March 6. Mr. Gingrich will spend most of this week campaigning there.
“I think its very important to win in Georgia. I’ll just put it that way,” he said.