The final Des Moines Register poll is out tonight at 8:00 pm ET/7:00 pm CT.
The New York Times takes an in-depth look at the pro-Romney Super PAC ads that have pummeled Gingrich in Iowa. “The ads, which continue to blanket Iowa days before the caucuses here, were created and paid for by people with deep knowledge of the Romney campaign’s strategic thinking, close relationships with Mr. Romney’s most generous donors, and even research on what television viewers like and dislike most about Mr. Romney himself. Yet neither Mr. Romney nor his staff has had to lift a finger or spend a dollar to make it happen. In a stark illustration of how last year’s landmark Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance has created powerful new channels for outside money to influence elections, the negative onslaught is the work of a group called Restore Our Future.”
GINGRICH: “Gingrich, whose double-digit lead in Iowa is now a double-digit deficit, choked up when asked about special moments with his mother, drawing ‘awws’ from a largely female audience at a Des Moines town hall,” the New York Daily News writes.
He floated the idea of Sarah Palin as his Secretary of Energy.
PAUL: “Following an uproar over decades-old racist newsletters published under Ron Paul's name, a newly released ad seems designed to address the perception that the GOP presidential hopeful is prejudiced,” the New York Daily News notes. “The video, released by Revolution PAC, features a black man whose sick, pregnant white wife was neglected at a Texas hospital during the early 1970s because of what he saw as prejudice — until ‘Ron Paul came to the rescue.’ Paul worked as a doctor at the facility.”
ROMNEY: “While the rest of the Republican presidential field seeks a win in one or the other of the two lead-voting states, Mitt Romney campaigned in both yesterday,” the Boston Globe writes. “While the rest of the Republican presidential field seeks a win in one or the other of the two lead-voting states, Mitt Romney campaigned in both yesterday. It not only supported his boast of being a national candidate, but it also aimed at scoring perhaps insurmountable back-to-back wins in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.”
“Following his speech, Romney did not answer when asked if he planned to release his tax returns,” the Boston Globe writes. “On Thursday, his son Matthew alluded to a New Hampshire audience that the presidential candidate might release his tax returns if President Obama released his academic grades and birth certificate. Matthew Romney later said he was repeating a joke, and apologized.”
Here’s NBC’s Peter Alexander’s Nightly News report, including Andrea Mitchell’s interview with Romney and whether he’d release his taxes:
ROMNEY: You know, if I become president, why, I’ll consider that. It’s a little premature to be talking about that at this stage.
MITCHELL: Is there some secret? People know you’re wealthy.
ROMNEY: Yeah, I understand. [laughs]
MITCHELL: There’s nothing to hide.
ROMNEY: No, I agree. There’s nothing to hide.
Off message: “Mitt Romney's son stole a bit of the news cycle on Friday after he joked to a group of seniors in New Hampshire that his dad would release his tax records when President Obama released his birth certificate,” the New York Daily News writes.
The New York Daily News: “Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tells Iowa voters: Vote for Mitt Romney, or else.”
The New York Post: “Mitt man Christie threatens Iowa — 'Jersey-style'.”
SANTORUM: “Rick Santorum, riding a late tailwind that has moved him up in the polls, is suddenly a hot commodity on the campaign trail as he attempts to consolidate the crucial but fragmented constituencies of social and religious conservatives,” the Boston Globe’s Mooney and Jan write. “But there are signs that leaders of Iowa’s influential evangelical Christian community are worried that divided loyalties in that group will help a less socially conservative candidate like former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney or Representative Ron Paul of Texas win the caucuses on Tuesday. Two pastors approached Santorum and Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota recently to urge one or the other to drop out and endorse the other to consolidate evangelical Christian support, the Associated Press reported. One of the pastors has since endorsed Santorum.”
Here’s NBC’s Chuck Todd’s Nightly News report, including an interview with Santorum. Santorum on Romney: “I don’t think a liberal Massachusetts governor is going to come and be able to relate to folks as well as the guy who grew up the grandson of a coal miner.”