ABC News' Teddy Davis Reports: For the first time, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich identified Mitt Romney's multi-million dollar fortune as psoing a significant hurdle to his ability to get into the 2008 presidential race.
"If he can drown you, what's the point of going and trying," said Gingrich. "I mean, if the net result is he'll drown you, then it's pretty silly to go out and compete with him."
The former House Speaker predicted Romney is prepared to write a $50 - $60 million check to his campaign.
"Gov. Romney will set the tone for the scale of resources you need in the Republican primary," said Gingrich during a breakfast with reporters in Washington, D.C.Before making a final decision on whether he will get into the 2008 presidential race, Gingrich plans to spend the month of October seeing if he can line up $30 million in financial commitments. This will tell him whether it is "realistic to be on the same playing field with Gov. Romney." On his financial disclosure report, Romney estimates his assets as being worth somewhere between $190 - $250 million.As of the June 30 end of the second quarter, Romney had loaned his campaign $8 million while raising approximately $35 million from 80,000 individual donors. Asked if Gingrich was correct in thinking that Romney was prepared to inject $50 - $60 million into his campaign, Romney spokesman Kevin Madden would not directly answer. "Our campaign is focused on building a grassroots network of volunteers and contributors across the country," said Madden. "These folks are joining our campaign and investing both their time and their efforts growing our donor base because they know that a national campaign is about teamwork and building a national movement of supporters. That's where our focus remains."
Gingrich said "the odds are very high" that he will not run for president.
He did not, however, completely rule it out and he urged those currently in the race to make a "clean break" from President Bush and the "current structure of government."
"If you don't represent real change," said Gingrich, "you just gave away the 2008 election."