Newt Gingrich, recognising that his campaign “all hinges on Georgia,” was on the campaign trail on Saturday with a very familiar face in the state, fellow Georgian Herman Cain.
“I think Georgia is a very, very important state,” Gingrich said. “We actually have a very good chance of doing well here and that gives us a springboard then to go across the whole country.”
But the former House speaker cautioned “there are no slam dunk states anywhere in America.”
Gingrich got a much-needed lift on Saturday from another Georgian in his home state: Former rival Herman Cain.
The Atlanta businessman, who bowed out of the race in early December and later endorsed Gingrich, said the former House Speaker’s economic plan comes the closest to his trademark “9-9-9” plan for a nine percent corporate business flat tax, income flat tax and national sales tax.
“I’m still working on him,” Cain told an audience of about 300 at a meeting of the Forsyth County Republicans.
Georgia, with its 76 delegates, will be the largest prize up for grabs during the critical Super Tuesday primaries on March 6. Recent polls have shown Gingrich in first place ahead of Mitt Romney.
Gingrich had said earlier this week there was a possibility he could lose here, but on Saturday amended that prediction to say, “We actually have a very good chance of doing well here, and that gives us a springboard then to go across the whole country. I think that’s part of what we are counting on.”
Gingrich and Cain, a former presidential candidate himself, appeared at three separate events.
The two men, who say they have been friends for years, not only cracked jokes with one another as they passed each other on stage, but also were full of compliments for each other during their speeches.
“Newt is not afraid to engage in a little smackdown when necessary,” a smiling Cain told the crowd in Cumming, Ga. “That’s bold leadership.”
Asked by reporters in Suwanee, Ga., what cabinet position Cain would hold in a Gingrich administration, the former speaker shied away from naming a specific job.
Cain, however, took control of the answer himself.
“My ideal job with a Speaker Newt Gingrich as president of the United States is to be a senior adviser not in charge of anything,” Cain said. “That’s what I would want to do in a Gingrich administration.”
Cain, who dropped out of the race back in November, was one of many presidential candidates who made their way to the top of the pack at some point during the primary season.
Rick Santorum is currently in that front-runner role now, Gingrich said, but told supporters in Atlanta that he “will survive Santorum.”