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Gingrich: I'm in the GOP race to stay

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich holds a press conference following the Nevada caucuses.

Newt Gingrich said Saturday night that he's staying in the Republican presidential nominating contest.

In a news conference in Las Vegas as results of the Nevada GOP caucus showed Mitt Romney the projected winner, Gingrich said he was still a candidate and would remain one through to the party's nominating convention in Florida this summer.

"I am a candidate for president of the United States. I will be a candidate for president of the United States," Gingrich said. "We will go to Tampa." 

NBC: Romney the projected winner in Nevada

He accused the Romney campaign of sowing rumors that he would drop out, and accused his rival of being dishonest at the most recent GOP debate.

About reports that one of his chief financial backers, billionaire Sheldon Adelson, had met with Romney, Gingrich said that he understood that Adelson had said previously that he would support Romney if Gingrich dropped out. If the choice was between Obama and Romney, Gingrich said, then Romney was the obvious choice.

He described Romney as a Massachusetts moderate, and cast himself as a conservative, and said the differences between the two will become "wider and wider and clearer and clearer" over the next few weeks.

The former House speaker is struggling to forge a comeback after big back-to-back losses to Romney in Nevada and Florida's primary four days earlier.

Gingrich waged a limited campaign in Nevada, with just a handful of events and no TV ads.

He needs to forge a breakthrough as the race turns to a string of states friendly to Romney, including Colorado and Minnesota on Tuesday and Michigan, where Romney grew up, on Feb. 28.

The Gingrich strategy hinges on Super Tuesday on March 6, when the campaign will sweep South again through states that look good for him. Gingrich — who is own chief strategist — and aides have been hunkered down mapping out strategy. Ohio will figure prominently in the mix. He'll head to the Super Tuesday state on Tuesday, bypassing other states that have contests sooner.

This article includes reporting by NBC News' Alex Moe, msnbc.com staff and The Associated Press.