Newt Gingrich speaks to the media at Tommy’s Ham House in Greenvile.
CHARLESTON, South Carolina—Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney have been locked in a war of words over ethics disclosures and tax returns, but they will square off face to face at least once more before voters here cast the final ballots — that is, unless one of them changes their schedules first.
Gingrich and Romney are both scheduled to hold 10:45 a.m. events tomorrow at Tommy’s Country Ham House in Greenville, to make a final push for victory in the surprisingly-competitive primary.
The two schedules were sent out within minutes of each other tonight, with Gingrich’s release beating Romney’s to reporters’ inboxes by about eight minutes. The event appeared as a late drop-in to Romney’s schedule for the day, which had first been sent out earlier in the week.
The unusual scheduling conflict appeared to catch both campaigns off guard when BuzzFeed questioned about the issue.
Gingrich’s traveling press secretary Nathan Naidu maintained that their campaign released their schedule first. Romney press secretary Andrea Saul said it was merely “coincidence,” adding that the campaign fully intends to keep its schedule.
It’s extraordinary unlikely that the campaigns will allow the two candidates to meet in person on the day of the primary, bringing about the question of the night: Which campaign will blink first?
UPDATED: Naidu told reporters: “We are more than happy to buy Governor Romney ham at OUR event.”
Naidu said the event “has been on the books.”
“It’s been confirmed. Governor Romney’s schedule that came out today was the first we’ve seen him talking about it,” he added.
Gingrich regional director Carolina Van Vick says she woke up owner Tommy Stevenson tonight, who said Gingrich is confirmed and Romney has never spoken with him about hosting an event in his restaurant.
Naidu added: “I wonder if they will debate pork barrel spending tomorrow.”