TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — It was an ominous introduction for Republican Newt Gingrich, whose future as a presidential candidate rests in Mississippi and Alabama.
“I can tell you right now, he’s tired. He needs your prayers,” former state Sen. Lee Yancey told a half-full Jackson hotel ballroom before the former House speaker took the stage.
Gingrich’s aides have said the candidate needs to win Alabama and Mississippi Tuesday to justify staying in the race. He scrapped weekend plans to campaign in Kansas ahead of the Saturday caucuses to stay in the South, his adopted home and the only place he’s won in the 2012 campaign.
“I want your help next Tuesday so we can win the Republican nomination,” Gingrich flatly told the group, his voice a little rough.
What few in the crowd of about 100 knew is that the night before, Gingrich took some time to enjoy himself. He shed his jacket and tie, sipped some wine and danced with his wife, Callista, in the bar, a carefree respite with staff that ran into the early hours of Thursday.