Transcript for Florida Primary: Romney Leads Gingrich
A moment of truth tonight for the Republican candidates who have bruised and battle their way to the Florida primary the biggest state to vote so far. And here are some of -- Florida neighbors filing... See More
A moment of truth tonight for the Republican candidates who have bruised and battle their way to the Florida primary the biggest state to vote so far. And here are some of -- Florida neighbors filing into the voting booths today. The latest poll has Mitt Romney with a double digit lead over his closest rival -- Gingrich was still hoping that the five those -- The ABC news political team has been out in force all day taking us behind the scene talking to the candidates. And ABC's David -- starts us off from Romney headquarters tonight David. Good evening Diane from Tampa and we have to staggering figures for you this evening when it comes to the television ads at play here in Florida over the last week. The Romney team and his allies have spent fifteen million dollars on those ads and -- independent analysts looked at them. The other staggering number of all of the ads just one that the Romney team -- was positive. And that ad was in Spanish if he does have a commanding victory here tonight many will look to that negative campaign saying it worked and I asked the governor about that today. You -- your allies vastly outspent Gingrich and is there are some who say if there is a huge victory for you in Florida tonight it's due in large part of that negative tone -- Campaign in South Carolina we were vastly outspent with a negative ads attacking me and we stood back and spoke about President Obama and and -- suffer the consequence of that plus also I think some good debates from speaker Gingrich. Now we came to Florida. And as speaker Gingrich didn't have to -- debates I did. And and we responded. If you're attacked I'm rocketed to sit back kind of fight back and fight back -- We should point out that -- same independent analysts pointed out that Romney -- allies also outspent Gingrich back in South Carolina then -- to do one. And from the negative tone to a decidedly different when -- quite frankly Diane one that surprised us in these last 24 hours take a look at this. Oh beautiful floor spacious skies. All around -- waves grain. All -- And -- as you know we have been following the governor for quite some time now his campaign he often recites America the beautiful but never. Has he sang the -- he didn't four hundreds last night in the villages here outside Tampa a sign of his confidence as he heads into this evening here well ahead in the polls a little trouble on the high note I heard there but thank you David want to bring in Jon Karl now because he's been with the Gingrich campaign -- day John. We'll -- -- campaign knows that they are probably not setting up for a victory party here tonight Gingrich. Has seen his poll numbers plummet in the face of that. Avalanche of negative advertising but he is digging in for a long long fight against Mitt Romney just listen to what he told me this morning. How close this being over mr. speaker I would say probably six months 61. -- -- -- unless Romney drops -- -- -- And keep in mind Gingrich has been declared politically dead twice in this campaign. And twice he -- come back so he will continue to fight now we also ran into while we were having launched today so I asked him about that singing -- from Mitt Romney asked him if he would be doing any singing during this campaign he told -- a man must know his limitations. A firm no from Newt Gingrich when it comes to singing but I can tell you this Diane tonight when he comes out here to speak. You can expect a fiery and defiant speech do not expect a concession speech -- John a lot -- strapped around here when he's at six months is possible thank you want to bring in co anchor Good Morning America and -- this week George Stephanopoulos. George not only is -- the biggest state voting today but up until now what the voting has been about nine 899%. Why this is a more diverse vote. Very different to in ten voters in the Florida primary looks like they were according or exit polls minorities mostly Hispanic one of the big difference especially from South Carolina. Diane is that -- South Carolina about two thirds of the voters were -- -- Christians. Hear that number dropped below 50% so overly of a bigger broader more diverse electorate in Florida and reflecting the country and more closely and. More than a month ago you could start with absentee ballots and you could start with early voting that's right and according to our exit polls. Four in ten voters in this primary made up their minds. More than a month ago. Only about a quarter made up their minds in the last few days that's about half -- -- the -- their minds last few days in South Carolina. -- Iowa the important thing here Diane is that about 600000. Voters in Florida voted before Tuesday. And we know that the Romney campaign was the only campaign. Invested in identifying these voters and getting into the polls -- if you only heard that six months that it could go on until July it's a little bit of an exaggeration perhaps not impossible but you know if you look at the way these primaries -- -- as we talked about. Earlier it's very difficult even if Romney gets a big win tonight. Very difficult for him to get the delegates he needs before April -- April -- perhaps the earliest remember only 5% of the delegates have been awarded after tonight. And everything you're hearing Gingrich -- -- stay oh no question about it all right George and I and the entire powerhouse political team will be bringing as a result of that coming from Florida. Tonight we'll be standing by when the polls close at 8 PM and we hope. You will join us that -- PM eastern time.
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