Even if he loses the Florida primary Tuesday, Gingrich predicts the nomination contest will go one for another "six or eight months… unless Romney drops out earlier," as he told ABC News' Jonathan Karl. But with a long stretch of small but Romney-friendly votes in February, lots of people are saying there's no way Gingrich can continue. “You mean those who said I was dead in June? Those who said I was dead in December?" the double Lazarus Gingrich asked Karl, implying he would be a triple Lazarus. "They are about as accurate as they were the last two times they were wrong.”
"I'm not going to speculate as to who's going to win," popular Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said on CNN Tuesday. "Here's what I'm comfortable saying. I think the winner of Florida is in all likelihood going to be the nominee of our party." Florida Gov. Rick Scott told Fox Business Monday, "I think it will be hard on Newt, if he doesn’t win Florida, to go forward." NBC News' First Read explains that a victory for Romney in Florida spells doom for Gingrich for several reasons: It will prove Romney can win in a diverse state, it will prove he can win conservatives, and it will show he really is a turnaround expert, since he turned around his campaign. And, they say, next months' votes won't be any easier for Gingrich, since they're in friendly territory for Romney: Nevada has a lot of Mormons and Romney was born in Michigan. Even so, NBC allows Gingrich might be serious when he says he's not quitting.
As evidence that Gingrich isn't bluffing, Slate's John Dickerson points to the new campaign video in which he talks about George Washington's endurance. Some of Washington's soldiers didn't even have boots, Gingrich says. They wrapped their feet in burlap. "If you're not yet walking in a burlap bag, I don't think you have much excuse not to be involved as an American." (Speaking of endurance, Gingrich's is remarkable. He's 68-years-old, and clearly not in great shape, yet he seems to have a ton of energy.)
When Gingrich vowed Saturday, "I will go all the way to the convention," he was echoing Ronald Reagan, Walter Shapiro writes in The New Republic. In 1976, after Reagan lost to Gerald Ford by 1,317 in New Hampshire, Ford told reporters, “Florida is really the key. If we win and win very well in Florida, they ought to know that they can’t win.” Reagan lost, then he got creamed in Illinois, his home state. But he fought all the way to the convention. "None of this guarantees that political history will repeat itself as either tragedy or farce," Shapiro writes.
President Obama's campaign can only hope. But Gingrich's recovery from its near death experiences has unnerved some conservatives. The night he won the South Carolina primary, Fox News pundits debated just how Lazarus-like the candidate was. "Yeah, but to be brought back to life, that means you have to have died," Brit Hume said. "Well, we all do," Charles Krauthammer replied.