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Politics & Policy

Gingrich Rejects Calls for Kasich Dropout, Scolds Rubio for Trump Attacks

Arlington, Va. — Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich made a surprise visit to a Super Tuesday rally for John Kasich in northern Virginia, shoring up support for the Ohio governor’s flagging presidential campaign even as he insisted his presence wasn’t an endorsement.

“This is an act of friendship,” he tells National Review. “He’s like my little brother.”

In a contest set to be dominated by Donald Trump, Kasich’s goal is to hang on until Ohio’s March 15 primary. But an increasing chorus of Republicans are pushing back on that strategy, urging him to drop out now to facilitate the consolidation of anti-Trump forces behind Rubio or Cruz.

Gingrich rejects that notion. “I think John has a perfectly good reason to be in, at least through Ohio,” he says. “I think he’s a very positive force who has not gone negative, he’s not gone childish . . . so I think he’s been healthy.”

What about Kasich’s own admission that Trump will sweep all twelve Super Tuesday states? “John’s a realist, and he’s also a guy who understands campaigning,” Gingrich says. “He’s got every right to stay in. And frankly, after the debates, I think he and [Ben] Carson are a breath of fresh air, after all the mudslinging and childishness.”

He blamed Marco Rubio for some of that mudslinging, saying the Florida senator’s personal attacks on Trump after last Thursday’s debate may have backfired. “I suspect it hurt Rubio,” Gingrich says. “Rubio’s not an attack dog. Chris Christie’s an attack dog. Christie knows how to do that, Rubio doesn’t. And Rubio ends up, I think, looking silly.”

Gingrich also chided Republicans suggesting they won’t get behind Trump should he win the nomination. “I believe when you’re faced with a choice with Clinton corruption, appointing radical judges with a disastrous foreign policy, it’s very hard for any serious Republican to not support the Republican nominee,” he told reporters.

Kasich inevitably faces a tough election night, in Virginia and elsewhere. He’s counting on two moderate northern Virginia districts to bring him to 10 percent support — a threshold advisors say they’d view as a victory.


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