FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
There are a couple ways to drop out of a political race.
A candidate can withdraw gracefully.
Or there's Newt Gingrich.
The guy just can't take a hint. And at this point he's likely hurting not only the Republican Party, but his own political legacy.
As Politico describes it, "the former House Speaker has decided to cap off a historic career by spending the final weeks of the campaign in a sort of political purgatory."
But that won't stop Newt. He's pledging to stay in the race all the way to the convention in Tampa. He's hoping against hope for some extraordinary situation where Mitt Romney can't get enough delegates and Rick Santorum is seen as unelectable.
The problem is he's out of money. His big Super PAC donor Sheldon Adelson - who has donated more than $15 million - says Gingrich is "at the end of his line."
There are no debates left to boost Gingrich, he can't afford to travel, he's fired much of his staff and even the media attention is dwindling.
People are using words like "laughingstock" and "delusional" to describe the former Speaker of the House. Sad really.
For his part, Gingrich insists he's staying in the race to shape the political conversation. And talk about his ideas like $2.50 a gallon gas. But no one is listening anymore.
CNN estimates Gingrich has 134 delegates compared to Romney's 559 and Santorum's 262.
A CNN/ORC Poll shows 6 out of 10 Republicans say Gingrich should drop out of the race. Also, a majority of Republicans say their party's nomination should be determined by the primaries - not the convention.
Here’s my question to you: Why won't Newt Gingrich face reality?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Some people just can't take a hint.
It's the eve of the Illinois primary, and Newt Gingrich is still here.
Well, actually, as of Sunday, he was in Washington taking in the cherry blossoms. He was reportedly seen dining at a trendy restaurant with his wife, Callista.
The voters have made it abundantly clear they are not interested in Gingrich being our next president.
He has won two states so far - South Carolina and his home state of Georgia.
He was supposed to do well in the South, but Rick Santorum busted him up big time last week in Alabama and Mississippi.
The leadership of the Republican Party has quietly made it known it would be a good idea for Gingrich to acknowledge what everyone else seems to be able to see so clearly and make his exit. But like an old hoofer addicted to the footlights, he just can't bring himself to get off the stage.
Gingrich has indicated he intends to remain in the race all the way to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.
The longer he stays in, the wider Mitt Romney's delegate lead becomes. As long as Gingrich and Santorum divide the conservative vote, Romney gets closer to being the nominee.
Gingrich continues to use his daughters to shill for him, which must be embarrassing for them on some level.
They can read the numbers like everyone else.
Here’s my question to you: What's Newt Gingrich up to?
Today's Southern primaries - in Mississippi and Alabama - might be Newt Gingrich's last stand. Or not. But they probably should be. He's not going to be our next president.
The former House Speaker has staked much of his campaign on the South. His only two victories so far were in South Carolina and his home state of Georgia. And he's hoping to deliver two more today.
He should have an advantage in the South. But the polls say he doesn't. They show him virtually tied with Romney in both Alabama and Mississippi.
A piece in The Daily Beast suggests that even if Gingrich wins today it won't matter. Patricia Murphy writes that historically Republicans who won in the South alone were doomed - candidates from Barry Goldwater to Mike Huckabee.
She describes a Southern strategy as a "recipe for disaster... not a path to the nomination."
CNN's Howard Kurtz also writing in The Daily Beast suggests that the media drumbeat for Gingrich's exit is growing louder because we want the race to go on longer. If Gingrich and Rick Santorum keep splitting the conservative vote, Romney is likely to wrap things up sooner, rather than later.
One top Republican, Senator Lindsey Graham, already says the race is "about over." Graham says that it's Romney's to lose due to his commanding delegate lead. CNN estimates that Romney has 459 delegates compared to 203 for Santorum and 118 for Gingrich.
But back to Newt. He says even if he doesn't have a "good day" today, he will stick around until the convention in Tampa. Maybe not.
If Gingrich loses in one or both Southern states today money might become harder to get; and without money, he goes nowhere.
Here’s my question to you: Do Mississippi and Alabama represent Newt Gingrich's last stand?
Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.
And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.
Another primary/caucus day - and with it, yet another day of bad news for Newt Gingrich. In this case, it looks like three more losses.
For starters, Gingrich isn't even on the ballot in Missouri. Plus, recent polling shows him in third place in Colorado and Minnesota. That’s probably why Gingrich is in none of these states today, choosing instead to campaign in Ohio.
Newt's future doesn't look too bright at this point. There are two more weeks to go before the next debate, where he tends to excel. At the end of the month come Arizona and Michigan. Romney is favored in both.
Super Tuesday is on March 6, but Gingrich has even given up on getting on the ballot in his adopted home state of Virginia that day.
When Gingrich took a beating at the hands of Mitt Romney in Nevada - much like he did in Florida - he seemed to ignore the results.
Gingrich held a bizarre news conference after the Nevada loss in which he vowed to "find a series of victories which by the end of the Texas primary will leave us at parity" with Romney.
The writing is on the wall for Newt - but it appears he's the only one who can't see it. Former candidate Michele Bachmann says she thinks the race will soon be over; and tea party leader Dick Armey says Gingrich is a lost cause for those voters.
Meanwhile, here’s one more sign that Gingrich is losing touch: Wikipedia says Gingrich's communications director has made or requested dozens of edits on Gingrich's behalf. These include factual references to Gingrich's three marriages and ethics charges brought against him while U.S. House speaker.
Here’s my question to you: Is Newt Gingrich kidding himself at this point?
Three marriages and two divorces later, it turns out Newt Gingrich might have a real problem with women. Go figure.
As part of the beating he took in Florida on Tuesday night, Gingrich was abandoned in large part by female voters.
Exit polls in the Sunshine State showed Romney getting 52% of women Republican voters, compared to only 28% for Gingrich - a 24-point margin. It was also a turnaround from South Carolina, where Gingrich won the women's vote.
Florida exit polls also showed Romney led Gingrich among married women by more than 20 percentage points. Among male voters, Gingrich trailed Romney by only 5 percentage points. Appears to be a gender gap.
It's no secret that Gingrich has been saddled with this personal baggage from the start of the race.
And he's been quick to own up to it, saying that he's done things he regrets, but it's all in the past. Gingrich talks about making peace with God and likes to describe himself as a 68-year-old grandfather.
But at the end of the day, maybe women voters just can't make peace with an adulterer who left his first wife, who was being treated for cancer, for his second wife; and left his second wife, who was fighting multiple sclerosis, for his third wife.
It actually looked like these issues might come crashing down on Gingrich before the South Carolina primary, when his second ex-wife told ABC News he had asked her for an open marriage. But in the end, South Carolina voters brushed it off.
But now that the women voters of Florida have spoken, it remains to be seen if women in the rest of the country will give him a pass.
Here’s my question to you: Does Newt Gingrich have a problem with women?
Things aren't looking pretty for Newt Gingrich in Florida, but that doesn't seem to matter much to him.
Despite trailing Mitt Romney in the polls by double digits and being outspent by an estimated $12 million in the Sunshine State, Gingrich is vowing to stay in the race all the way to the convention.
And that has some Republicans worried.
They're concerned that if Romney and Gingrich keep battling for months to come, it could weaken the eventual nominee, who then must face off against President Obama in the fall.
Others suggest that a prolonged fight makes both Gingrich and Romney better candidates.
A piece in Politico called “Why Newt Won't Quit” suggests that for Gingrich, the next great challenge of the campaign comes from within:
"Gingrich may have the will to keep fighting, but whether he's capable of keeping his cool, delivering a consistent message and executing a long-shot plan to overtake Romney is an altogether different matter."
Also working against Gingrich, no more debates until February 22.
Meanwhile, although Gingrich is vowing to stay in it for the long haul, his campaign is already lowering expectations for some of February's races.
The campaign says Michigan and Nevada will be difficult contests for their candidate. Romney won both states in 2008. Also, Michigan is Romney's birth state, and his father was governor there; Nevada has a lot of Mormons.
Gingrich is largely setting his sights on March, when more Southern states start voting.
The question is whether the money and the media attention will dry up before then.
Here’s my question to you: If Newt Gingrich gets blown out in Florida, is it time to drop out?
As the Florida primary comes down to the wire, Newt Gingrich finds himself trailing badly in the polls but getting support from two high-profile Republicans.
The question is whether it will do him any good.
Former presidential candidate and businessman Herman Cain endorsed Gingrich over the weekend.
He called Gingrich a "patriot" who is not afraid of bold ideas.
Cain – who pulled off a surprising win in a Florida straw poll last summer – remains popular among grass-roots conservatives.
But he dropped out of the race in December amid allegations of sexual harassment and marital infidelity.
Then there's Sarah Palin. While she hasn't formally endorsed anyone, it sure seems like the former governor of Alaska is rooting for Gingrich.
Palin is calling on Republicans to vote for Gingrich to "shake up" the establishment "if for no other reason to rage against the machine, vote for Newt, annoy a liberal."
Palin has described the establishment Republicans backing Romney as "cannibals."
While Palin says she respects Mitt Romney, she says there are serious concerns about his record as a conservative. Palin says this primary should not be rushed to an end, adding, "we need to vet this."
You mean the way Palin was vetted for the vice presidency four years ago?
Meanwhile, Gingrich may need all the help he can get in Florida.
Four polls in a row there show Romney with a double-digit lead over Gingrich; the latest one shows Romney up by 14 points.
Here’s my question to you: How much will Sarah Palin and Herman Cain help Newt Gingrich?
Newt Gingrich is sending chills down the spines of establishment Republicans, and it's positively entertaining to watch.
These Republicans say things like it would be "a disaster" if he's the nominee, "There's a reason most people who know him best aren't supporting him" and "Newt means losing 45 states."
They say they're worried Gingrich would bring back the erratic, chaotic and crazy leadership from his time as House Speaker.
What's more, many worry that Gingrich at the top of the ticket would drag down Republican candidates for the House and Senate. In a nutshell, they don't think Gingrich could ever beat President Obama.
So far only 12 sitting Republican lawmakers have backed Gingrich, while more than 60 support Mitt Romney. Many who worry about Gingrich also say they doubt he'll be the party's nominee.
The irony here is that being the anti-establishment candidate could be the best thing Gingrich has going for him. The so-called establishment includes a few hundred of the most powerful and elite Republicans, from lobbyists to senior members of Congress to TV and newspaper pundits.
But Americans are fed up with the political establishment and if the inner circle of Republicans is nervous about Newt, it could actually help him with the average voter. Gingrich also seems to thrive when he's playing the insurgent.
Meanwhile, you can bet the GOP establishment has got a close eye on Florida. They say they're not at DEFCON 5 yet.
But they just might get there if Gingrich wins Florida and presents an even more serious challenge to Romney. I love it.
Here’s my question to you: Is it good or bad that Newt Gingrich makes establishment Republicans nervous?
Newt Gingrich has risen from the dead for a second time in this roller-coaster that is the Republican nomination battle.
With his decisive double-digit win in South Carolina, Gingrich now heads into Florida with a head full of steam.
South Carolina has the distinction of picking every Republican nominee since Ronald Reagan in 1980, and what Gingrich did there is nothing short of amazing. It's also a bit puzzling.
A piece in Politico suggests that the surging Gingrich has mastered the art of both debates and disguise.
There's no question Gingrich's debate performances – and the free media he gets from them – have been a key to his success. Last week, his answer about food stamps and his beating up on the media helped him win over South Carolina conservatives.
As for the disguise part, Gingrich uses his master debate skills to camouflage his weaknesses as a candidate: the three wives, leaving the first two while they were ill, his erratic leadership, etc.
One ex-wife's claim that Gingrich wanted an open marriage might have done him in. But in the end, she didn't lay a glove on him. The voters yawned.
Mitt Romney must be tearing his hair out; it wasn't supposed to be this way.
With much less money and a smaller organization, Gingrich is once again threatening to take away his crown.
It’s a stunning comeback for a candidate who was sent off to the political graveyard for the first time last summer. His staff quit after he went on a Mediterranean cruise and reports surfaced of his million-dollar line of credit at Tiffany's. But Gingrich roared back to life in December, shooting to the top of the polls before collapsing again ahead of the Iowa caucuses.
He just won't go away.
Here’s my question to you: What's the secret to Newt Gingrich's success?
What's that phrase of which Republicans are so fond? "Family values"?
Just two days before the South Carolina primary, Newt Gingrich's second ex-wife is out with some tawdry details about him that suggest he has the morals of an alley cat.
In fact, Marianne Gingrich tells ABC News that Newt lacks the moral character to be president. Married to Gingrich for 18 years, says she's coming forward now so voters can know what she knows about him.
And here's what she knows:
She says Newt asked for an "open marriage" so he could have a wife and a mistress. That mistress has since become his third and current wife, Callista.
Gingrich reportedly asked Marianne if she would "share him" when he admitted to a six-year affair with Callista, who is a former congressional aide.
Keep in mind this was around the same time that Gingrich was going after President Bill Clinton for his lack of moral leadership during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Marianne says Newt asked for a divorce just months after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Gingrich divorced his first wife while she was being treated for cancer. Family values.
Meanwhile, ABC News will air the full interview tonight on "Nightline." Apparently there was disagreement at the network over the timing of the interview, given its potential effect on Saturday's primary in South Carolina.
The Drudge Report first leaked word of the interview last night –14 years and a day after Matt Drudge broke the Monica Lewinsky story.
As for Gingrich, so far his response to all this seems to be referring the press to ask his daughters about it. It's part of that whole family values thingy.
Here’s my question to you: When is the proper time to release a potentially damaging interview with one of Newt Gingrich's ex-wives?
Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.
Jack Cafferty sounds off hourly on the Situation Room on the stories crossing his radar. Now, you can check in with Jack online to see what he's thinking and weigh in with your own comments online and on TV.
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