CAIN: Herman Cain has been waging “a ceaseless ground attack” for months, but his performance in Thursday’s Republican debate in South Carolina earned him loud plaudits, the Wall Street Journal writes. “Long-shot presidential candidates seek one thing in the early stages of a campaign: Traction. Mr. Cain may have just won that.”
DANIELS: Influential Iowa social conservative Bob Vander Plaats praised Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels for deciding to sign a bill ending taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood in his state, saying it ended Daniels’ so-called “truce” on social issues. “Actions speak louder than words,” Vander Plaats said accourding to Real Clear Politics.
GINGRICH: While Newt Gingrich is planning to formally announce his run for the presidency on Wednesday on Facebook and Twitter, the Boston Globe writes, “that seems sure to be anticlimactic given that his staff is forecasting the news nearly 48 hours in advance.”
The New York Times profiles his wife, Callista. “Today, Ms. Bisek is Mrs. Gingrich, married for 11 years, but perhaps best remembered for the six-year affair that contributed to her husband’s political downfall. His critics cast Mr. Gingrich, the former House speaker, as a hypocrite who sought to impeach a president over infidelity while engaging in it himself with Ms. Bisek, who was a Congressional aide. Yet in a curious tale of Washington reinvention, the onetime congressman from Georgia is counting on the third Mrs. Gingrich for his political redemption.”
Gingrich is unapologetic about his past advocacy for addressing climate change, Politico writes. Unlike Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who has called his work on climate change a “mistake,” Gingrich is embracing his beliefs towards climate change, even though he has criticized the Obama administration for pursuing cap-and-trade legislation and called for the replacement of the EPA.
HUNTSMAN: Jon Huntsman’s decision to visit a nondenominational church, rather than one of the six Mormon churches in the Charleston, S.C. area this weekend raised questions over whether Huntsman is distancing himself from his Mormon religion in order to avoid scrutiny, the St. Louis Tribune writes. But Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Huntsman’s former chief of staff, told the Tribune that Huntsman always “felt it imperative to reach out” to other faiths.
Conservative blogger Erick Erickson condemned Huntsman on his blog Red State, saying he would never support Huntsman for the Republican nomination because his presidential ambitions were well reported on while he was still serving as the American ambassador to China: " From a level of patriotism and pride in my country, regardless of politics and Presidents, I cannot tolerate a man serving as our ambassador to our chief strategic adversary in the world plotting, while in that capacity, to run against the President of the United States. It is unseemly and disgusting,” Erickson wrote.
A Huntsman staffer then wrote an email to Politico’s Ben Smith, saying it was “ironic that someone who suggested sending President Obama to the death panel is calling someone else disloyal to the President,” and suggesting that Erickson judge Huntsman by his record as governor of Utah.
The feud continued as Erickson responded, “Jon Huntsman’s record as Governor is irrelevant compared to his judgment that it is perfectly okay to plot a campaign for the Presidency against the incumbent President of the United States while serving as that President’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China.”
The take from conservative writer Matt Lewis: “Part of Erickson’s criticism seems to be that Huntsman is…ambitious. Name me a politician who isn’t. Political ambitions can be unseemly without being unpatriotic. Regardless, the notion that Huntsman’s political considerations might have compromised or overshadowed his service in China doesn’t jibe with media reports.”
PAUL: Ron Paul’s primary run could benefit from the preponderance of libertarians who have migrated to New Hampshire over the past few years and have formed a movement called the “Free State Project,” National Journal writes.
ROMNEY: The socioeconomic divide among Republican voters is put in deep relief in a new Gallup poll, in which Mitt Romney outpolls his potential rivals among people who earn more than $90,000 a year, and college gradates (21% each) and Sarah Palin leads the Republican pack among people who earn less than $24,000 a year (22%), USA Todays writes.