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2012: Romney and Cain tied nationally

Mitt Romney and Herman Cain are in a statistical tie for the lead in the GOP primary in a new Pew poll, with Romney at 23%, Herman Cain 22%, Newt Gingrich 16%, Ron Paul and Rick Perry 8%, Michele Bachmann 5%, Rick Santorum 2%, Jon Huntsman 1%.

CAIN: Cain campaigned yesterday in New Hampshire for the first time since August. He says he’d settle for second there and consider it momentum.

“Herman Cain isn’t your typical Republican presidential candidate. It was a theme he proved again today when he blew off an editorial board meeting with an influential New Hampshire newspaper, before entertaining a crowd of supporters in the urban Northeast with country western and gospel music,” the Boston Globe writes.

GINGRICH: “A Smart Politics content analysis of the last seven nationally televised debates since Rick Perry entered the race finds that Newt Gingrich is the only candidate yet to be on the receiving end of the more than 150 verbal attacks that have been levied by the Republican field.” Gingrich hasn’t been on the receiving end of much, but Romney did take Gingrich to task on the individual mandate on health care. (Hat tip: GOP 12.)

Ann Coulter, though, went after Gingrich, per GOP 12: “In addition to having an affair in the middle of Clinton's impeachment; apologizing to Jesse Jackson on behalf of J.C. Watts -- one of two black Republicans then in Congress –- for having criticized "poverty pimps," and then inviting Jackson to a State of the Union address; cutting a global warming commercial with Nancy Pelosi; supporting George Soros' candidate Dede Scozzafava in a congressional special election; appearing in public with the Rev. Al Sharpton to promote nonspecific education reform; and calling Paul Ryan's plan to save Social Security ‘right-wing social engineering,’ we found out this week that Gingrich was a recipient of Freddie Mac political money.”

PERRY: “Rick Perry's fundraising efforts have run into trouble amidst a series of debate gaffes and poor poll numbers, according to the Houston Chronicle,” Political Wire notes. The paper writes in one example: “One Perry fundraiser, who asked not to be named, said he received 15 RSVPs for a recent event from potential donors saying they might attend. But after a gaffe-marred Perry debate performance, none showed up.”

ROMNEY: First, the Boston Globe reports that 11 Romney “aides purchased their state-issued hard drives and wiped e-mails from the server at the end of Romney’s term in 2006.” Then, trying to counter the backlash, the Romney campaign, filed a public-information request for current Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick’s electronic records and scheduling to try and tie Patrick to the Obama administration and essentially blaming it for the leak.

Then the Democratic National Committee submitted its own public-information request to see what it could get from Romney’s time as governor, the Globe reports today. The DNC is “requesting any electronic communication during Romney’s term from officials who had purchased a computer hard drive from the state. They also ask for any forms submitted by Romney’s gubernatorial office asking for permission to destroy or remove documents. They also ask for emails containing words that seem designed to embarrass Romney, including phrases such as ‘delete emails,’ ‘flip-flop,’ ‘change position,’ ‘raise taxes and fees,’ ‘move to the right,’ and ‘ranked 47th in job creation.’”

Romney’s the latest to use the term “crony capitalism.” “Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney today refused to call for the resignation of Energy Secretary Steven Chu but accused the Obama administration of ‘crony capitalism’ with support for industries linked to Democratic donors,” the Boston Globe writes.

Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist who helped the Romney administration and Obama set up health-care bills, said in an interview with Capital New York (per the New York Daily News), "Basically, they're the same f---ing bill.” He also said Romney is “lying” when he talks about the differences. Gruber walked back the lying remark in an interview with the Boston Globe, but reiterated that he believes Romney has “just been disingenuous and purposely misleading,” the Boston Globe writes. “By that I mean, when he says we did it in Massachusetts without raising taxes while President Obama’s law raised taxes, he knows the reason Massachusetts could do it is that the feds picked up much of the cost of the Massachusetts law. So it’s completely misleading.”

Romney said he’s not a flip-flopper because he has stood by his Massachusetts health-care bill. “You have seen a lot of candidates look at their biggest vulnerability, call it a mistake, and ask for forgiveness,” Romney continued. “In my case, that wouldn’t be honest.”