Discuss as:

2012: Romney smelling victory in Iowa?

GINGRICH: “Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says he was never a lobbyist. But three US representatives, including former New Hampshire Representative Jeb Bradley, have said Gingrich did in fact lobby them – whether he met the technical definition of a lobbyist or not,” the Boston Globe writes. “Bradley told the Globe that he remembers Gingrich, in 2003, advocating in favor of the legislation that created the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit before a group of around 10 members of Congress. ‘I think the average person would see it as lobbying plain and simple,’ Bradley said.”

More: Yesterday, “the Des Moines Register reported that US Representative Jeff Flake of Arizona and former Representative Butch Otter of Idaho said Gingrich lobbied them in 2003 to vote for the Medicare prescription drug benefit program.”

The founder of the pro-Newt Gingrich Strong America Now, whose super PAC ran negative ads against Mitt Romney last week, said he will be dropping similar mailers in South Carolina, National Journal reports. 

PAUL: “Republican presidential contender Ron Paul, largely dismissed both by the mainstream media and many in the general population, nonetheless has the endorsement of an invigorated core of supporters who may propel him to victory in the Iowa caucuses,” the Boston Globe writes.

The New York Times has this headline: “Marching Orders for Paul’s Volunteers: Do Shave, Don’t Tweet.” From the article: “Four years after young people flocked to the state to help propel the campaign of Barack Obama, this radically different movement is embracing a 76-year-old veteran Texas congressman who is drawing supporters for his libertarian and antiwar views. And they say they are under strict orders: To look, dress, shave, sound and behave in a way that will not jeopardize Mr. Paul’s chances.”

Jonathan Martin on the defection of state Sen. Kent Sorenson from Bachmann camp to Paul: “Sorenson's switch is a major boost to Paul's campaign, which has been dogged by criticism from establishment Republicans that his support here was largely among Democrats and independents."

Sorenson denied making the move for money, as the Bachmann camp charged. Instead he “suggested the GOP contest had become a two-man race and that he wanted to defeat Mitt Romney. ‘I adore Michele Bachmann, but the fact of the matter is I believe we have an opportunity to take Romney out here in Iowa and I believe that person is Ron Paul,’” he said, adding, “I love Michele, I love the Bachmann family, but I love this country, also." And: “Sorenson explained that Paul had campaigned for him in his state senate bid and that he had stayed in touch with the congressman's local supporters even after signing up with Bachmann. Those conversations intensified in the last few days, according to both Sorenson and Benton, but the Iowan said Paul's team didn't know until he showed up at the event that he had firmly decided to switch.”

ROMNEY: The Des Moines Register: “On Tuesday night, the Romney campaign will host a post-caucus party at the Hotel Fort Des Moines. The candidate will give remarks, and he and his wife and some of his five sons will mingle with supporters, Romney’s Iowa consultant David Kochel said. [Communications Director] Gitcho said: “He has always said that he was going to campaign in Iowa and he’s continued to build support there, so obviously Iowa is important to the campaign.” The next morning, the former governor will do press interviews before flying to New Hampshire, the next state on the voting calendar and a crucial contest for Romney.”

“Buoyed by internal polling and a CNN survey released Wednesday afternoon that showed Newt Gingrich falling to fourth place in Iowa, with Ron Paul in second and Rick Santorum climbing to third, Romney told reporters in a deli here that he couldn’t think of a reason why he won’t win the state,” Politico writes. “‘I can’t imagine, except that there are other good people running, and they’ve got good campaigns,’ he said. ‘I like the fact that my support is building and the momentum is positive, but I can’t tell you where it’s going to end up.’”

He went after Ron Paul yesterday: “One of the people running for president thinks it’s OK for Iran to have a nuclear weapon. I don’t, I don’t trust ayatollahs ... I don’t trust those who back Hamas and Hezbollah.”

The Boston Globe: “Romney’s critique of Paul this morning, which came in response to a voter question, could indicate a shift in strategy for the former Massachusetts governor’s campaign.”

Romney also got Elizabeth Dole’s endorsement yesterday.

Steve Forbes, stumping for Rick Perry, said this of Romney: “His capital gains [tax policy] is almost weaker than [President] Obama’s because he fears he’ll be called a friend of the rich. Well, get over it, governor. You’re going to be portrayed as a friend of the rich no matter what you do.”

SANTORUM: Christian Heinze: “Santorum is finally getting the surge I never thought he'd get. And you know Mitt Romney is in a SERIOUSLY good position when his top two competitors are Ron Paul and Rick Santorum.”