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Newt Gingrich's big Super Tuesday gambit: win the gas pump vote

Ahead of Super Tuesday, Newt Gingrich is hammering Obama for an 'anti-energy policy' and playing up his own plan to reduce gas prices. It's a solid strategy, experts say, but will primary voters bite? 

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Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich spoke in Woodstock, Ga., on Thursday. Ahead of Super Tuesday, Gingrich is hammering Obama for an 'anti-energy policy' and playing up his own plan to reduce gas prices.

Evan Vucci/AP/File

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Newt Gingrich picked up a golden nugget on the campaign trail ahead of Super Tuesday when someone who approached him said, “Ask Obama about his 9-9-9 plan” – a reference to former candidate Herman Cain's tax-reform proposal.

Mr. Gingrich wrinkled his brow, bemused, and said, “What are you talking about?”

“$9.99 gas.”

With gasoline prices unseasonably high and expected to climb higher, Mr. Gingrich has zeroed in, laser-like, on the issue, perhaps hoping it will instill new life in his flagging presidential campaign ahead of next week's Super Tuesday contests in 10 states. He has already made the bold promise that, if he is elected president, Americans will once again be able to buy gasoline for $2.50 a gallon, and increasingly he is using the issue of soaring gasoline prices to hammer on President Obama and to distinguish himself from his GOP rivals.

“Finding issues where he can draw huge contrasts between Democratic policy and Republican policy has always been Newt's strength, and it's an excellent example of what he's doing right now,” says Merle Black, a political scientist at Emory University, in Atlanta. “And just as a goal, it's one most Americans would applaud as opposed to an attitude of, we need higher gas prices in order to move away from fossil fuel.”

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