Former House speaker would not admit his campaign was close to over, insisting he has staged comebacks in the past

Republican outsider Newt Gingrich defiantly vowed to remain in the race for the White House on Monday, on the eve of two primaries in the deep south that are potentially a make-or-break moment for him.

Speaking in a packed theatre in Birmingham, Alabama, a raucous, old-fashioned election event that pitted him against rival Rick Santorum, Gingrich refused to admit his campaign for the presidential nomination was close to over and insisted he had staged comebacks before.

In a line that could have been lifted from one of his many military histories, Gingrich, who did not serve in the forces, said: “I will not leave the field.”

Gingrich, with wins so far only in South Carolina and his home state, Georgia, needs to emerge with a win in at least one of the two states in contention in the south on Tuesday – Alabama or Mississippi – to keep his hopes alive.

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