Gingrich Says He Doesn't Expect to Win Iowa

By SHANNON McCAFFREY | January 3, 2012 | 3:37 AM EST

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — Briefly a GOP frontrunner, Newt Gingrich is hoping for a respectable showing in Tuesday's Iowa caucuses after being pounded by millions of dollars in attack ads.

The former House speaker was set to make an 11th-hour push for support as his campaign bus rumbles through eastern Iowa. He is scheduled to hold events in Muscatine and Burlington before he personally makes his case to a caucus gathering in Cedar Falls.

Gingrich rallied supporters in Davenport Monday night, urging them to help him pull off "one of the great upsets in the history of the Iowa caucuses." Earlier in the day he had all but conceded defeat, saying he didn't "expect to win."

Still, he is setting his sights on New Hampshire and South Carolina, where he pledged to wage a more aggressive effort to draw contrasts with Republican rival Mitt Romney, whom he has labeled a "Massachusetts moderate."

After emerging as a top GOP contender in early December, Gingrich saw his support falter as he was hit with a wave of tough ads painting him as an ethically-challenged Washington insider.

The ex-Georgia congressman has tried to cast himself as the conservative heir to former President Ronald Reagan, touting a supply-side economic plan of tax cuts and fewer regulations. But he has struggled to stay on message, blasting some of his GOP opponents even as he promised to wage a positive campaign.

"I believe I am the only person who has the range of experience necessary to fundamentally get this country back on the right track," he said.