Newt Gingrich Confident He’ll Make It to Iowa Caucus

Jun 23, 2011 9:31pm

ABC News’ Arlette Saenz reports:

Before a speech in Baltimore Thursday evening, Newt Gingrich told reporters he’s confident he’ll be in the presidential race through the Iowa caucus next year.

“Sure, of course,” Gingrich told reporters when asked about the Iowa caucus. “These things happen over and over.  They fascinate the media. They have no long term historic meaning. Either there will be a message that resonates with 14 million unemployed.  There will be a message that resonates when one out of every four houses is worth less than its mortgage.  There will be a message that resonates when there are three wars and no strategic coherence in the administration, or there won’t be.  If there is, I’ll be a contender in January.”

The Gingrich campaign turned down an option to buy a spot for the Ames Iowa Straw Poll Thursday afternoon. 

An aide to Gingrich told ABC News they are intent on focusing on the caucuses and still determining whether they’ll participate in the straw poll.

“It’s a very important part of the Iowa caucus,” spokesman R.C. Hammond told ABC News of the Iowa straw poll. “ We support its traditions and the important role it plays.”

When asked after the speech why he chose not to purchase a spot, Gingrich told ABC News to “Cover the speech.”

Bidding for a spot at the straw poll began at $15,000.  Rep. Ron Paul made the highest bid, paying $31,000 for a spot.

Gingrich used his speech at the Maryland GOP dinner Thursday night to criticize the president’s claim that the “tide of war is receding” and pointed to the threats posed by Pakistan, Iran and turmoil in countries like Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia.

“Is the tide of war receding or is there a potential tsunami of violence building offshore?” Gingrich repeatedly asked the crowd.

“I want to challenge the president to withdraw the phrase because it totally misleads the American people and it represents a delusion of the real world.”

Prior to his speech, Gingrich held a roundtable fundraiser for his campaign.  Earlier this week, two top fundraisers for the campaign quit. 

The Gingrich campaign is planning fundraisers as they head into the final week of the fundraising quarter.

“I ask everyone I can for money.  I’d love to have your support,” Gingrich told reporters.

Newt heads to Iowa on Saturday for the first time in over a month.  He will join the Iowa Tea Party Bus Tour in Indianola, Iowa.

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