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2012: Debate night

“Facing a restive Republican Party and a resurgent Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney shifted course on Sunday and agreed to release his tax returns this week, as the two candidates and their allies buckled in for a combative and unpredictable new phase of the presidential nominating campaign,” the New York Times writes.

The Tampa Bay Times: “Three states. Three winners. A divided delegate count. If there is one clarity in the unpredictable, captivating turns of the Republican presidential race, it is this: Anything can happen and Florida, which is next to vote, is wide open.”

The Miami Herald’s headline: “Organized Mitt, energized Newt face Florida brawl.”

PolitiFact previews the debate and the candidates’ most used (and stretched) talking points.

GINGRICH: “A beaming Newt Gingrich yesterday boasted that his South Carolina primary win proves he’s the best Republican to go ‘toe to toe’ with President Obama — as a humbled Mitt Romney finally agreed to release his tax returns,” the New York Post reports.

House Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn said Gingrich won South Carolina with “familiar rhetoric.” He likened Gingrich’s rhetoric on food stamps to Reagan saying “welfare queens.” “People know what that means,” Clyburn said. “Still, Clyburn was careful not to say that he thinks Gingrich is racist, although he seemed to say some voters are,” Roll Call writes. “I never used that word, and I never call anybody anything that resembles that,” Clyburn said. “I’m saying that he’s appealing to an element in his party that will see President Obama as different from all other presidents that we’ve had. There’s only one thing that makes him different.”

ROMNEY: “Under pressure from rivals and a few allies alike, Mitt Romney said today that he will release his tax returns on Tuesday and not wait until April, as he seeks to bury swirling questions about his finances that have shadowed his campaign for the last week,” the Boston Globe notes. “We made a mistake holding off as long as we did,” Romney said. “It was a distraction. We want to get back to the real issues in the campaign.”

More: “Tuesday will be the day after the first Florida debate, so it gives Romney the advantage of saying he will release them, without having to answer questions at the debate about what they contain.”

“Reeling from his stunning loss in South Carolina, Mitt Romney says he will release his 2010 tax returns Tuesday,” the New York Daily News reports.

He also lashed out at Gingrich: “He’s been working for Freddie Mac, remember those guys?” Romney said Sunday night, per the Wall Street Journal. “What was he doing at Freddie Mac? Because Freddie Mac figures in very prominently to the fact that people in Florida have seen home values go down. It’s time to turn them around.”

He went on, calling Gingrich a “failed leader”: “At the end of four years, it was proven that he was a failed leader. He had to resign in disgrace.”

Of Chris Christie’s appearance on Meet the Press, the New York Post has this headline: “Christie in new veep tease.”

Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown on Romney’s wealth, per Roll Call: “Listen, he’s in a category, a lot of those folks are in categories that we don’t really understand,” Brown said on the “Jim and Margery” talk-radio show this morning. “And certainly he has to release his [tax] returns. I understand he’s going to do that like everybody else when they become ready and available in April. I don’t know anything [about] his finances. I really — it’s kind of a different world for me.”