Newt Gingrich is fighting for nothing less than the soul of the Republican Party, says political analyst Howard Fineman.

Fineman’s assessment came as he discussed the Florida primary race and the GOP presidential contest in general with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and former national Republican Chairman Michael Steele on “Hardball with Chris Matthews” Monday night.

Noting that Gingrich has vowed to stay in the presidential contest through the national GOP convention in Tampa, Fla., in August, Fineman observed that some of the former House speaker’s friends “strongly advised him to go all the way to the convention, and they didn’t have to do a lot of convincing.

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