Nightly News   |  January 26, 2012

Newt Gingrich battles Republican establishment

After enduring barbs from his own party, including former Sen. Bob Dole, Newt Gingrich is fighting back. NBC’s Ron Mott reports.

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>>> good evening. in the poll numbers we are debuting tonight, there is a new gop front-runner in this race. that's newt gingrich . now leading mitt romney by nine points nationally. santorum third. ron paul with 12%, fourth. seizing the lead, however, as you know, comes with quite a cost to newt gingrich . as we've seen in this race so far, front runner status means coming under heavy fire. that's what happened today. our poll is also showing evidence this race is hurting the gop , and we could see more of that tonight at the next debate, because after all, it's only been three days since the last one. a lot of ground to cover tonight, including those new poll numbers. first, let's begin with nbc's ron mott in jacksonville tonight. ron , good evening.

>> reporter: hey, brian, good evening to you. long before republicans officially get the chance to beat president barack obama in the fall, newt gingrich is saying tonight he's getting beaten up by the republican establishment and does not plan to go down without a fight.

>> you sounded angry today.

>> i am angry. i'm angry. every american should be angry.

>> reporter: with $14 million of advertising in florida aimed largely at newt gingrich from mitt romney and a super pac backing him.

>> if newt wins, this guy would be very happy.

>> reporter: the former house speaker had a lot to say today, as evidence surfaces his forward momentum may be slowing. in the line of fire the gop establishment he says is supporting romney.

>> how can somebody run a campaign this dishonest and think he's have any credibility running for president?

>> we are not going to beat barack brag with some guy who has swiss bank accounts , cayman island accounts, shares of goldman sachs that forecloses in south florida .

>> reporter: he says a primary win would bring up the forces against him. one force bob dole did just that. writing in an open letter , "hardly anyone who served with newt in congress has endorsed him, and that fact speaks for itself. he was a one-man hand who rarely took advice. it was his way or the highway." former house speaker nancy pelosi raised eyebrows in a tv interview tuesday.

>> he's not going to be president of the united states . that's not going to happen.

>> why are you so sure?

>> there is something i know.

>> reporter: the intrigue prompted this fiery resort from gingrich on the "today" show.

>> i have no idea what is in nancy pelosi 's head.

>> reporter: the apparent frustration flows beyond the candidate. how do you attain all your information?

>> reporter: gingrich's press secretary confronted utah congressman a romney supporter, and soon the zincers were flying.

>> where does newt gingrich live?

>> reporter: john mccain 's former campaign senior strategist warned things could get rougher.

>> if newt gingrich is able to win the florida primary , you will see a panic and meltdown of the republican establishment that is beyond my ability to articulate in the english language .

>> reporter: tonight, nbc's michael isikoff is reporting mitt romney is amending his financial disclosure forms to include tax return information that did not officially get put in those forms from overseas investments.

>> ron mott from florida tonight.