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2012: Gingrich goes on the attack

CAIN: “The Cain train may be stuck in the station, but now Herman Cain is on the move again: with a bus tour,” the New York Daily News writes. “The former Republican presidential hopeful will take to the highway to rally support for his plan to replace the current tax code with a flat 9% tax on national sales, personal income and corporate income.”

GINGRICH: Gingrich has previously derided food stamps, called President Obama the “food stamp president” because more people are on food stamps, and has said he would go to the NAACP convention and all neighborhoods to talk about how to reduce dependency. But yesterday, he took it a step further, making an explicit connection to the black community. “And so I’m prepared, if the NAACP invites me, I’ll go to their convention to talk about why the African American community should demand pay checks and not be satisfied with food stamps,” he said.

African Americans make up 28% of those receiving food stamps, while 60% of those on food stamps are white, according to the U.S. Census.

This morning on the CBS Early Show, Gingrich offered a defense, of sorts: Asked why he said African Americans are satisfied with food stamps, Gingrich retorted, "I said they shouldn't be … I didn't say they were satisfied. … I'm saying we should reach out to every American ... what I said was that every American ... every American of every background should have an opportunity to get a job, not depend on food stamps ... I'm actually for conservatives going into every ethnic neighborhood" to help people find more economic opportunities.”

He also lashed out at Romney, saying that Romney claiming he’s a conservative is like a “Saturday Night Live skit.” “I think we’ll do better in New Hampshire than people expect because when you start to describe a Massachusetts Moderate and you remind people of his record, they suddenly they go, ‘Oh yeah, he’s not a conservative,’” Gingrich said. “It’s a joke for him to call himself a conservative.  It’s a Saturday Night Live skit.”

Here’s what else Gingrich said of Romney, per NBC’s Morgan Parmet: “I think he's had a free ride and as we explain what it's been like having a Massachusetts moderate as governor, I think the support may melt pretty rapidly …. I thought it was very telling after the millions that he spent, he only got 25 percent in Iowa. Three-out-of-four Iowa Republicans said, ‘No,’ so I don't see him as much of front runner frankly.”

He later called him potentially “the weakest frontrunner in history.” “He will continue to get 25%. Now, by definition at some point in that game, somebody else is going to start getting a lot more votes than Gov. Romney. … It depends on what he wins [other states] with. If he wins at 25%, this would be the weakest frontrunner in history."

On Santorum: "If you look at the total level of experience, I think that I am substantially more experienced than Rick is at actually running a very large government operation."  Then he called him a “junior partner.” "I would say in terms of, if you think of us as partners, he would clearly in historical experience, have been the junior partner.  He's not a bad person; I want to be clear about this.  But I don't know that he has any track record of being able to organize a large scale campaign that I'm describing or being able to then govern on a large scale.  And I think that's important. I don't think you want to just hire somebody to get through the election, you want to hire somebody to actually change Washington."

“Newt Gingrich’s crybaby past is coming back to haunt him,” the New York Daily News writes. “Gingrich, who is not just taking barbs from GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney, was greeted in a New Hampshire bar by a woman holding a blowup of a cartoon depicting him in diapers. That illustration invoked a famed Daily News frontpage that depicted Gingrich as an infant during the 1995 federal government shutdown - but the former Speaker may be negotiating to ward off one source of attacks.”

HUNTSMAN: He won the Boston Globe’s endorsement. But the editorial is as much about Mitt Romney as it is Jon Huntsman. (The Globe is essentially Romney’s hometown paper, as he governed there and maintains a residence in Massachusetts): “Already, the religious right, represented by Rick Santorum, and Tea Party activists, represented by Ron Paul, have pushed Romney in unwanted directions. In New Hampshire, Republican and independent voters have a chance, through Huntsman, to show him a sturdier model. Jon Huntsman would be a better president. But if he fails, he could still make Romney a better candidate.”

ROMNEY: This is not the headline Romney camp wants as it tries to make the argument that his policies would be better for the middle class – “Mitt Romney tax plan would cut taxes on rich, raise taxes on poor, analysis suggests,” the Boston Globe writes of an analysis released by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. From the analysis, per the Globe: “While millions of households would see tax cuts, thousands of poor Americans would see their tax bills rise, by an average of $1,000, because of changes to child and earned income credits. Those making more than $1 million a year would get a tax cut of about $150,000 -- amounting to about half of the total tax cuts he proposes.”

“Four years ago, coming off a big win in Iowa, then-Senator Barack Obama came to New Hampshire confident. He drew huge crowds, forcing supporters to wait hours in the cold to catch a glimpse,” the Boston Globe notes. “His speeches were well received, and the energy around his campaign was clear. But by election day, voters seemed to deliver a message to Obama: not so fast. Instead, they gave Hillary Clinton new life and dealt Obama a setback that prolonged the race. Mitt Romney’s team has studied that campaign as a cautionary tale. They are the front-runner that doesn’t want to appear as one in a state that likes to surprise. They are planning some weekend rallies, but so far have focused on town hall meetings and smaller events, hoping it allows voters to ask questions and have more personal interactions.”

SANTORUM: He said of Romney and Gingrich, per NBC’s Morgan Parmet: "I've never been for government run health care. Ever. Unlike the other two candidates who have been running here.”

The New York Post: “Rickin’ and rollin’.” “Granite State voters are giving GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum a fresh look, and they like what they see,” the New York Post notes. “Feeling a bounce from his strong No. 2 finish in the Iowa caucus, Santorum yesterday climbed past Newt Gingrich into third place in New Hampshire, according to Suffolk University’s first post-Iowa poll.” Still, Santorum is at just 8%, while Romney’s at 41%.

He broke into double digits nationally jumping up 3 points to 11% in Gallup’s tracking poll. Romney leads with 27%, Gingrich is down 3 to 19% and Ron Paul grabs 13%.

“In an interview on CNN, Rick Santorum tried to distance himself from comments he made 9 years ago which most took as equating homosexuality with bestiality and pedophilia,” Political Wire notes. “Santorum to the AP in 2003: ‘In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing.’ Santorum, yesterday: ‘I didn't connect them. I excluded them.’”