Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

In Iowa, Gingrich tries to win over a Florida senator



DES MOINES -- Florida state Sen. Mike Bennett was among a group of influential Iowans invited today to a private meeting with Newt Gingrich, who has seen support fade in recent days leading up to Tuesday's caucuses.
"He felt he is definitely still in it," Bennett told the Buzz. "He said he expected the changes. He said, 'I think it will continue to change.'"

The group of about 50 people at a Best Western near the airport included 6 or 7 Iowa legislators who are still undecided on a candidate, Bennett said. Gingrich decried negative ads from Mitt Romney and Ron Paul and others that have cut deeply into his poll numbers. "It's a shame we're spending all our money beating each other up," Bennett recalled Gingrich saying.

Still Bennett, R-Bradenton, said Gingrich seemed calm. "I would have thought he’d be a little more concerned but he certainly wasn’t."

Bennett said he likes Gingrich, but also Romney.

Bennett has been on holiday vacation in Des Moines, where his wife is from and where the couple lived for about 15 years before returning to his home state in 1986. He also ran into Rick Santorum, who is climbing in polls, outside a downtown hotel.

Santorum's message: "I plan on being in Florida."

[Last modified: Friday, December 30, 2011 3:47pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours