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2012: An affair to forget?

BACHMANN: Per NBC’s Jamie Novogrod and Ali Weinberg, the Bachmann campaign is hitting Newt Gingrich hard in a release announcing a Tea Party outreach effort in South Carolina. "It’s ludicrous to think that the Tea Party would line up behind Newt Gingrich, a true ‘Washington insider,’" Kelly Payne, one of two new Bachmann Tea Party co-chairs, said in the press release.

CAIN: The New York Daily News has the Cain affair story on its cover as “Campaign Bombshell.” The New York Post says his campaign was “rocked” by the allegations.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s top story: “Cain denies 13-year affair.”

Remember, Cain said back in March: “I can assure you, I have an original copy of my birth certificate. I don’t have any illegitimate babies. I don’t have any mistresses… So, no, I don’t have any of those kind of skeletons in my closet and what I have told people, if they come up with something and try to damage my reputation, they will have made it up.”

“In its report, Fox 5 Atlanta said White had Cain's name in her cell phone contacts, and when its reporter sent a text message to the number, Cain called right back,” AP notes, adding, “Cain said White had his number because he was trying to help her financially… In his initial denial, Cain vowed to remain in the presidential race as long as he has the support of his wife, with whom he said he had discussed the most recent allegation. In her interview, White said she decided to come forward after seeing Cain attack his other accusers in an appearance on television.”

More: “White has been accused of lying before. A former business partner, Kimberly Vay, filed a libel suit as part of a larger business dispute with White. Vay's attorney, Kurt Martin, said a judge sided with Vay after White failed to respond to the suit. Martin said a jury must still decide whether to award damages.” But Cain’s “lawyer issued a public statement that included no such denial and suggested that the media -- and the public -- had no business snooping into the details of consensual conduct between adults.”

“The Atlanta woman who says she was Herman Cain’s mistress for 13 years is a down-on-her-luck single mom who once sued a former employer for sexual harassment,” the New York Daily News writes.

“[H]owever history will judge the accusation by Ginger White that she carried on a 13-year affair with Cain, this was in no way, shape or form the breaking point for the man with the one-note 9-9-9 tax reform offer,” the New York Daily News’ Greenman writes. “But for many, it will carry more weight than all of those previous missteps combined, and that reveals something depressing about American politics. It's not a candidate's command of foreign policy or domestic affairs (in both cases, Cain's is shallower than a sand bar). It's not his ability to run a first-rate campaign (Cain has no organization and no discipline). It's not even always his ability to make a compelling case for his candidacy. It often comes down to comfortable cues about character - personal things we can understand, as though we're judging a neighbor who just came over for coffee.”

GINGRICH: “For Newt Gingrich fans, there may be more than his win of the presidential nomination at the end of the rainbow. There might be ‘Newt-themed’ prizes,” the Boston Globe reports. “On Gingrich’s recently launched, New Hampshire-specific website, NewtHampshire.org, visitors who sign up on the site can opt to link their Twitter and Facebook pages. Their Facebook posts and tweets are then tracked and counted and points are doled out to the most active posters and tweeters.”

“Newt Gingrich has surged to the top of the polls in the race for the GOP nomination, but with that front-runner status comes growing concern that his personal baggage could become a campaign liability,” The Hill writes.

HUNTSMAN: “Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman Jr. released a plan yesterday to block future bank bailouts, in part by capping their size, and to eliminate ‘burdensome’ financial regulations,” BusinessWeek writes. “Huntsman’s proposals include ending ‘too big to fail’ by setting a ‘hard cap’ on bank size based on assets as a percentage of gross domestic product. He also would repeal the Dodd-Frank overhaul of financial regulations and maximize derivatives transparency, his campaign said in a statement.” (Just asking, but isn’t setting a hard cap on bank size regulation?)

PERRY: He diverted “from the GOP presidential trail for a home state appearance as the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center announces a new facility in Houston,” AP writes. Liberal outlet Think Progress points out it has gotten millions in federal funds.

ROMNEY: “[I]f there's any Republican presidential candidate who can afford to spend precious time and money in Florida, it's Mitt Romney,” AP writes. “Romney is campaigning here Tuesday while his rivals focus on Iowa's caucuses or the early primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Florida is the only early primary state Romney is visiting this week, little more than a month before voters start weighing in.”

Stu Rothenberg on the dilemma facing conservatives about coming around to Mitt Romney: “Most voters will not focus on electability in the GOP race, which is why talk of Romney’s inevitable nomination is premature and why he must continue to hit on conservative themes in his effort to become an acceptable alternative for the party’s grass roots. Ultimately, however, Romney’s best argument may be that half a loaf is better than none. Most party insiders already believe that, but he somehow needs to convince enough grass-roots conservatives of it so that he can sneak across the finish line, whether in Iowa or in subsequent contests. Barry Goldwater’s famous 1964 campaign slogan was ‘In your heart, you know he’s right.’ He went on to lose 44 states. Often, in politics, the head is a better guide than the heart.”

The Boston Globe: “Mitt Romney has recently started attacking Newt Gingrich for saying that some illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay in the country, deriding the position as “amnesty’’ as the former Massachusetts governor tries to stem the rise of one of his strongest rivals for the Republican presidential nomination. But Romney just five years ago advocated a nearly identical position, and his evolution to a more hard-line position is exposing the former Massachusetts governor to the flip-flop charges that have been seen as one of his major vulnerabilities.”