Newt Gingrich took jabs at Mitt Romney in his Florida concession speech after he lost to his Republican rival by 14.5 points Tuesday night.
Positioning himself as the underdog challenging the wealthy, Massachusetts moderate, Gingrich reminded voters of his South Carolina victory and compared himself to American legends and former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln. Although he didn't mention the victor by name, Gingrich unloaded on Romney between the lines.
The former House Speaker's big defeat was unsurprising, considering polls that led up to the pivotal primary. However, that hardly lessens the blow--Romney's win is a strong sign that Republicans are rallying around the Massachusetts governor because he has the greatest chance of beating President Barack Obama in the general election this fall.
Former Massachsetts Gov. Romney won 46.4 percent of the vote, while Gingrich came out with 31.9 percent. Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum cam in third place with 13.4 percent and Ron Paul in fourth with 7 percent.
Below is the full text and video of Gingrich's speech.
Thank you all very, very much. And thank all of you up here.
I particularly want to start by thanking Attorney General Bill McCollum, who just has been a great statewide leader and has done so much to help us. And he and Ingrid have just been tremendous.
I also want to thank Mayor Crotty and Ellen Levine (ph), who co- chaired statewide and really helped us put this together with a remarkably short time. And so we're very grateful to all of you.
I also want to introduce my daughter, Kathy, and her husband, Paul. They live down in Key Biscayne.
And I'm very proud of Kathy, because she did a whole series of Spanish-language media over the last couple weeks, helping us in the Miami area, and really reaching out across all of the Hispanic community.
And also, my daughter, Jackie, and her husband, Jimmy, who are here.
Jackie has been - Jackie has been doing speeches, doing television and radio. And as many of you know, she is - she and Jimmy are the mother and father of my two major debate coaches, Maggie and Robert. So it's great to have them here.
I want to thank Floridians. Callista and I talked about this. And everybody here has been so positive in every part of the state that we just thank all of you for the hospitality and the kindness. We thank the well over a half-million Floridians who voted for us.
And I think Florida did something very important, coming on top of South Carolina. It is now clear that this will be a two-person race between the conservative leader, Newt Gingrich, and the Massachusetts moderate.
And the voters of Florida really made that clear.
Now, you'll notice that a number of folks are holding up a sign about 46 states to go.
We did this in part for the elite media, because, you know, the same people who said I was dead in June and July and said I was gone after Iowa, who seemed totally quiet the night of the South Carolina victory, are now going to be back saying, What's he going to do? What's he going to do? What's he going to do? So I just want to reassure them tonight: We are going to contest every place, and we are going to win, and we will be in Tampa as the nominee in August.
Now, you might ask - in the face of a 5-1 onslaught - how can that be true? And I'll give you the answer. It was stated at a historic moment in 1863, in dedicating our first national military cemetery by the president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, who said we have government of the people, by the people, for the people. And we're going to have people power defeat money power in the next six months.
You might say, how are we going to do that? Well, the same way that we came back in June and July, and by December, we're ahead in the Gallup poll nationally by 12 or 13 points with no money. It turned out that if you have ideas, and you have solutions, and you're positive, and you can communicate a better future, and you have a history of actually doing something in the past, that the combination begins to reach the American people.
So let me talk briefly about what this is going to be about. This is the most important election of your lifetime.
If - if Barack Obama gets re-elected, it will be a disaster for the United States of America. Make no bones about it. If he can have a record this bad, unemployment this bad, deficits this bad, policies this bad, gasoline prices this high, and still get re-elected, you can't imagine how radical he'll be in his second term.
So designing and putting together a people's campaign, not a Republican campaign, not an establishment campaign, not a Wall Street- funded campaign, a people's campaign, and saying to every American of every background and every ethnic group and every community: We have a better future for you and your family. It's a future of jobs, it's a future of lower gasoline prices, it's a future of a balanced budget, it's a future of a smaller Washington, it's a future of more power back home to you and your family and your neighborhood. This is a future we ask you to join us in imposing on the establishment in Washington and imposing it on both parties.
Let's talk briefly about the power of ideas. In 1980, I was very honored to be able to help put together the first Capitol steps. And at that point, Senate and House candidates came together with Governor Reagan. David Broder wrote about it in the Washington Post. It was a very courageous decision by Reagan because he didn't have to run as part of a team. And he did something nobody had done before. And we won six U.S. Senate seats by a combined margin of 75,000 votes, and we picked up 33 House seats.
In 1994, building on that experience, we got 350 candidates to come and to be part of a Contract with America, to stand on the Capitol steps. We offered a positive program, and we had the largest one-party increase in American history in an off-year. Nine million additional Americans voted for a positive vision, and we kept our word, and every item in the contract was voted on in the first 93 days.
There's - there's a core question, both in the primaries and in the general election, a simple question. If you're comfortable with the way America's decaying, then we don't have to change much. We can just manage the decay.
I'll give you a couple more. We're going to put together a package. You're going to see, this is what a serious conservative president is like, who is bold and is prepared to change Washington, despite the screams of the establishment of both parties.
So a couple more steps. We will on that day sign an executive order that will instruct the State Department that day to open the embassy in Jerusalem and recognize Israel.
Give you just two more examples. I will sign on that day an executive order reinstating Ronald Reagan's Mexico City policy. No U.S. money will go anywhere in the world to pay for abortion, period.
And finally, many of you may have noticed that the Obama administration has declared war on the Catholic Church and other religious institutions. I want you to know that, on the very first day, I will sign an executive order repealing every anti-religious act of the Obama administration as of that moment.
The reason I'm comfortable telling you all this is I have been studying what America needs to do, since the fall of 1958, when my dad was stationed in Europe in the Army. I have been working at what we need to do, as congressman, speaker of the House, in the private sector. I believe it is possible to get this country back on track.
My commitment is to unleash the spirit of the American people, to find new and innovative and positive things, to do them seven days a week, to do them relentlessly, to do them without stop, to make sure that we have fundamentally gotten America back on the right track.
And I pledge to each and every one of you personally: If you will reach out across the country, if you will use Facebook and YouTube and Twitter and phone calls and even visits, if you will tell all of your friends in the other 46 states that there is a chance to nominate a conservative who knows what he's doing, who has done it before, and who has the courage and determination to get it done, I promise you that if I become your president, I pledge to you my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor. This is about America.
Thank you. Good luck, and God bless you.
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