National Journal: Newt Gingrich is surging in Florida ahead of that state's GOP presidential primary next Tuesday, according to the first nonpartisan, live-caller poll conducted in the state since Gingrich's blowout victory in South Carolina last Saturday. Quinnipiac University began conducting a poll in the state on Thursday, two days before the South Carolina primary, and continued interviews through Monday. For the full poll, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leads Gingrich, 36 percent to 34 percent, within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., is third, with 13 percent. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is at 10 percent. Eight percent prefer another candidate or are undecided.
GINGRICH: A new Gingrich Freddie Mac contract was released. This one showed he reported to Mitchell Delk who was Freddie Mac’s chief lobbyist. On NBC’s TODAY show, Gingrich defended his work at Freddie Mac and called Delk, instead, their “head of public policy.” Gingrich added, “The contract says no lobbying, period. I offered strategic advice. And I think that’s an important thing to remember.” He said he urged for more regulation of Freddie Mac and not to “give Freddie any taxpayer money.” He claimed he said, “Don’t give them the money.” For the record, while he stressed he was not a lobbyist, he defended lobbying. “Lobbying is a perfectly legitimate business, if that’s what you’re in.” But “being a public citizen,” which is how he characterizes the extent of what he was with Freddie Mac, “is different than lobbying.”
The Romney campaign is continuing to push that Gingrich was a lobbyist. An email out this morning has the subject line: “A LOBBYIST BY ANY OTHER NAME…”
Gingrich was also asked on TODAY about House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who reiterated that she believed Gingrich could not win the presidency, because she knows things from the ethics investigation. She previously has said she has “dirt” on him. Gingrich laughed when asked about it and parried, “She lives in a San Francisco environment of very strange fantasies… If she knows something, spit it out. I have no idea what she’s talking about.”
Newt Gingrich’s interview with CBN’s David Brody per GOP 12: “I have not hidden from the facts of my life, that I have confessed my weaknesses, and that I have had to go to God for forgiveness and for reconciliation. And I think most people can identify, either with themselves or with friends or with loved ones, that life has moments that are very sad, you wish wouldn’t have occurred. And you look back on them, and you seek forgiveness for not having been everything you could be. So, I think in that sense, it may make me more normal than somebody who wanders around seeming perfect and maybe not understanding the human condition and the challenges of life for normal people.”
Reuters: The man hired by Newt Gingrich more than a decade ago to advise him how to walk the line between consulting and lobbying is the co-author of a leading legal text on lobbying and the chief lobbyist of the American Bar Association.
Gingrich drew big crowds yesterday, especially at one event. The Palm Beach Post called it "rock star treatment,” per NBC’s Jamie Novogrod. The headline: "Gingrich draws thousands in Fla. while Romney's, Santorum's crowds number in hundreds.”
ROMNEY: “With the release of his tax returns Tuesday, Mitt Romney has emerged as Exhibit A in a political battle likely to define the 2012 election: how to tax the rich,” The Washington Post writes.