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2012: Thou shall not … whatever

“The GOP presidential hopefuls all pay homage to Ronald Reagan, but his so-called 11th commandment of politics -- Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican -- is being regularly and energetically violated by the two Republican front-runners,” the Boston Globe writes. “The mutually hostile tenor has emerged at an unusually early point in the nominating contest, and it illustrates the high stakes involved. But it also shows that Romney - who for months hardly ever mentioned his primary opponents - is trying to quickly stem Perry’s rise. Just six weeks ago, Romney and his advisers said they did not feel threatened by having Perry in the race and would not change their strategy. Now, rarely a day goes by that his campaign does not try to put Perry on the defensive.”

BACHMANN: Channeling NBC’s Alex Moe, who reported over the weekend that both Bachmann and Perry are ignoring the crucial Northwestern section of Iowa, the L.A. Times writes, “Top Republicans neutral in the race say she squandered opportunities to build on her win and are baffled by the decisions her campaign is making, notably limiting most of her campaigning to Waterloo and the large cities of Des Moines, Ames and Cedar Rapids. ‘She's a great candidate but has turned into a really bad campaigner,’ said one longtime Iowa GOP operative who spoke anonymously to preserve relations with the campaign. ‘She has not gone to northwest Iowa, to the heart of where her support would be. Of Iowa's 99 counties, she's only visited a handful, most of which are urban counties. She needs to go out to the rural counties — she would be well received.’”

CAIN: “Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said Sunday that he should not have stayed silent after the audience at a GOP debate booed a gay soldier serving in Iraq,” AP writes. “The Georgia businessman told ABC’s ‘This Week’ that it would have been ‘appropriate’ for him to have defended the soldier. None of the candidates on stage at the Sept. 22 forum responded to the boos.”

Smart Politics says there’s been a surge in Cain coverage: “Cain was interviewed or mentioned in 153 news stories on these six broadcast networks during the seven-day stretch, which was third behind only Rick Perry (190) and Mitt Romney (170) for the most in the Republican field. … Cain coverage nearly doubled that of Bachmann, who was interviewed or mentioned in 79 stories last week, followed by Ron Paul at 56 stories.”

CHRISTIE: “Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey should decide soon whether to seek his party’s nomination for the presidency in 2012, Republicans said on the Sunday television talk shows,” the Bloomberg News writes. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said on Meet the Press, “He’s an extraordinary communicator; he’s a great governor. I just think whoever’s going to get in needs to do it immediately. We have got 90 days until the caucuses start in Iowa.”

The New York Times adds, “Mr. Christie has not yet decided whether to run and has not authorized the start of a full-fledged campaign operation. But with the governor now seriously considering getting in, his strategists — many of them veterans of Rudolph W. Giuliani’s 2008 campaign — are internally assessing the financial and logistical challenges of mounting a race with less than 100 days until voting is likely to begin.”

Politico’s Haberman: “[T]hree sources who are aware of the discussions in Christieland said their perception is it's likelier than not that he stays out of the 2012 race. However, all three said the same thing - it's a family discussion between Christie and his wife Mary Pat, and he could still decide to run.”

GINGRICH: Newt being Newt: “He’s [Christie] a good governor. If he wants to come and play, we’d be glad to have him come. I think Gov. Perry could advise him that running for president is a little more complicated than being governor.”

PERRY: The Washington Post’s article from Sunday: “In the early years of his political career, Rick Perry began hosting fellow lawmakers, friends and supporters at his family’s secluded West Texas hunting camp, a place known by the name painted in block letters across a large, flat rock standing upright at its gated entrance. ‘@!$%#head,” it read.

Perry's communications director released this statement: "Gov. Perry and his family never owned, controlled or managed the property referenced in the Washington Post story. The 42,000-acre ranch is owned by the Hendricks Home for Children, a West Texas charity.”

More: "Perry’s father painted over offensive language on a rock soon after leasing the 1,000-acre parcel in the early 1980s. When Gov. Perry was party to the hunting lease from 1997 to 2007, the property was described as northern pasture. He has not been to the property since 2006. In 1991, the Texas Legislature passed a bill to rename old, offensive place names.”

But per the Post article, “Perry’s version of events differs in many respects from the recollections of seven people, interviewed by The Washington Post, who spoke in detail of their memories of seeing the rock with the name at various points during the years that Perry was associated with the property through his father, partners or his signature on a lease. Some who had watched Perry’s political ascent recalled their reaction to the name on the rock and their worry that it could become a political liability for Perry.”

“As Texas governor, Rick Perry spent tens of millions in taxpayer money to lure some of the nation's leading mortgage companies to expand their business in his state, calling it a national model for creating jobs. But the plan backfired,” AP writes.

ROMNEY: “On his Fox News show, Huckabee pressed him on issues dear to conservative voters, such as abortion and same-sex marriage,” AP writes. “Romney said he would appoint conservative Supreme Court justices. And he defended his Massachusetts health care plan, saying he would have backed an amendment to the state’s constitution to prevent subsidizing abortion.”

SANTORUM: He said on FOX: "I've heard it in Florida, I've heard it in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.... they're tired of the Mitt and Rick show, and they want to hear from the other candidates.”