Washington veterans who have worked closely with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in the past predict that endorsements of rival Mitt Romney will only make Gingrich more stubborn about staying in the GOP presidential contest.
"Newt would be smart to get out of the race but he won't do that right now," says a former adviser to a Republican president who has known Gingrich for three decades. "The more people encourage him to get off the trail, the more he will thumb his nose at them and keep running."
Gingrich watchers predict the same defiant reaction from Gingrich in the wake of billionaire Donald Trump's endorsement of Romney Thursday.
Another sign of Gingrich's stubbornness came with the announcement that his campaign will ask the Florida Republican Party to change the state's winner-take-all allocation of nominating delegates to a proportional system. The Republican National Committee has said that the allocation by early primary states such as Florida should be proportional, but the Florida GOP broke that rule. Romney won the primary this week. A proportional system would at least give Gingrich a few delegates of the 50 awarded. Florida Republican officials, however, say they won't make the change.
Long-time GOP strategists predict that Gingrich also will step up his effort to define himself as the thoughtful, bold conservative in the race with a series of speeches, interviews, ads and policy papers.
But many who have worked with Gingrich in the past say the former House speaker seems incapable of controlling his worst tendencies, such as his inability to stay on message, his lack of discipline, and his tendency to shoot from the hip.
"He needs a seven-second pause button," says a senior GOP strategist.