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Gingrich: The goal is to defeat Obama

BATON ROUGE, La. – Newt Gingrich spoke up in defense of Mitt Romney Thursday night, insisting any Republican presidential candidate would be a better president than Barack Obama.

"I want to start with something Rick said tonight that I frankly was very surprised that he said and that I hope he's taking back,” Gingrich told the Baton Rouge Tea Party event crowd referring to Rick Santorum’s comments earlier today.

Santorum, addressing a crowd in San Antonio, Texas this afternoon took a swipe at Romney, saying, "If you’re going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk with what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate of the future.”

But Gingrich argued that re-electing Obama would be a “disaster” and Republicans have an obligation to do better.

Speaking on the campus of Louisiana State University, the former House Speaker told the few hundred person crowd they have no choice.

“I may have some very substantial disagreements with Gov. Romney. There is no doubt in my mind that if the choice was Gov. Romney or Barack Obama, we would have no choice,” Gingrich said. “The danger of Obama is so great that I would hope that every candidate running – Ron Paul, Gov. Romney and Sen. Santorum – that we would all agree that whoever becomes the Republican nominee, we have one common goal and that is to defeat Barack Obama."

While Gingrich finds faults with his GOP rivals, he has told crowds throughout his campaign that any of the other candidates are superior to the current president.

In closing his speech tonight, Gingrich laid out why he believes he is still the best candidate to take on Obama in the fall.

“Getting Washington to change in fundamental ways is going to be very, very hard.  You had better have somebody who wakes up every single morning prepared to fight. Because if you don’t have somebody who knows what they’re doing and has the willpower and the energy and the focus to do it, they’re going to make nice speeches and fail,” Gingrich said, noting that winning the Louisiana primary on Saturday would help reset this race once again.