A new Clemson University South Carolina poll has Romney at 17%, Thompson 15%, Huckabee 13%, Giuliani is at 9%. About 28% say they are still undecided.
In another poll, Romney maintains a 14-point lead in New Hampshire, and Fred Thompson is at a stunning 2%. Here are the numbers: Romney 34%, Giuliani 20%, McCain 13%, Paul 8%, Huckabee 7%, and Thompson 2%.
GIULIANI: The big non-debate news from yesterday came from the Politico. "As New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan in the Hamptons, according to previously undisclosed government records."
The New York Post's headline: "Rudy's Hidden Love-Nest $$: Billed City 500G for Trips to Judi's."
The New York Daily News: "It has been known since 2000 that then-Mayor Giuliani used his official, taxpayer-funded NYPD detail to escort him to weekend getaways at Nathan's Southampton condo as early as 1999, well before his marriage to Donna Hanover dissolved the following spring… Coming amid a heated Republican primary battle for President, the gimmickry leaves Giuliani vulnerable to attack on several fronts: his boasts about fiscal stewardship as mayor, and as a fresh reminder of the affair before Nathan became his third wife. The campaign was rocked as news of the bills filled TV screens before the national political press gathered in St. Petersburg, Fla., for last night's GOP debate. A hush fell over the room as Giuliani campaign manager Mike DuHaime and communications chief Katie Levinson turned away from reporters to listen to the cable news chatter."
USA Today: "Tony Carbonetti, Giuliani's mayoral chief of staff and his top campaign political adviser, said he's asked Joe Lhota, a former city budget director, ex-deputy mayor and a Giuliani campaign adviser, to explain how such accounting practices could have occurred and why security expenses were not billed to the police department. 'These were all legitimate expenses incurred in protecting the mayor, and his police detail covered him wherever he went, 24/7,' Carbonetti said in an interview before the debate. 'You just do what you do, and the police go with you. That's just a fact of life when you're the mayor of New York.' Giuliani's affair with Nathan, while he was married to second wife Donna Hanover, has become common knowledge."
More: "But the suggestion, true or not, that he was hiding expenses for liaisons with Nathan in little-known city accounts, could open him up to criticism, remind voters of his three marriages and infidelity and tarnish his good-guy image from the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The report surfaced just five weeks before voting begins, and a couple hours before the GOP candidates shared a debate stage. None of Giuliani's rivals raised the issue. Debate moderator, CNN's Anderson Cooper, asked Giuliani about it briefly."
ROMNEY: Wow, Mike Huckabee has really recalibrated things. In a "Morning Joe" interview on MSNBC this morning, the former governor was asked if not winning Iowa was "devastating," and he said it wasn't and claimed there are "three tickets" out of Iowa -- maybe two tickets out of new Hampshire. So Romney is trying to dial back expectations but has he led in the polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire too long?
More evidence that Romney is going to be the most attacked candidate? A pro-choice GOP group, Republican Majority for Choice debuts $100,000 worth of attack ads against Romney for flip-flopping on the abortion issue.