Reuters: Republican Newt Gingrich struggled to halt surging rival Mitt Romney’s momentum on Sunday, accusing him of launching false attacks as polls showed Romney widening his lead two days before Florida’s presidential primary.
Romney, who has battered Gingrich in a flood of television ads and two debates in Florida last week, opened a double-digit lead over the former U.S. House of Representatives speaker in four polls released on Sunday.
Gingrich said the race was closer in Florida than the polls indicated and vowed to fight on beyond Tuesday’s vote. Conservatives eventually would rally behind his candidacy and block Romney’s nomination, he said.
“I believe the Republican Party will not nominate a pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-tax increase moderate from Massachusetts,” Gingrich said after attending a Baptist church in Lutz, Florida.
“They will not nominate somebody who raises millions from Wall Street to run ads that are false,” he said. “So this is going to be a straight out contest for the next four or five months.”
Earlier, Gingrich accused Romney of distorting his record.
“He has a basic policy of carpet-bombing his opponent,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I give Governor Romney’s campaign due respect for the sheer volume of negativity that they use and the sheer amount of money they raise on Wall Street.”
Romney told supporters in Naples, Florida, that Gingrich was making excuses and should take a look in the mirror.
“My own view is that the reason Speaker Gingrich has been having a hard time in Florida is the people of Florida have watched the debates and listened to the speaker, have listened to the other candidates, and have said, ‘You know what? Mitt Romney’s the guy we’re gonna support,’” he said.