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Romney uses 'history,' surrogates against Gingrich in Fla. campaign's final days


PANAMA CITY, Fla. -- In the final days of campaigning before Tuesday's pivotal Florida primary, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign is leaving no weapon unused against  his chief rival Newt Gingrich.

At his afternoon rally Saturday, and on television, Romney's attack centered on Newt's history within the Republican party.

"He's an historian. But that doesn't give him the right to rewrite history," Romney said of Gingrich. "The Contract with America, that was a good thing. We took over the House, that was great news. What happened four years later? Well he was fined for ethics violations. He ultimately had to resign in disgrace. He can't rewrite history. We have to go back and look at history and say he may be a great guy with a lot of great ideas, but he is not the leader we need at a critical time."

Meanwhile, on television screens across Florida, the Romney campaign was up with a new ad titled "History Lesson," which excerpts an NBC Nightly News broadcast from 1997, in which anchor Tom Brokaw is seen reporting the news of Gingrich's ethics violation.
NBC News on Saturday wrote a letter requesting the Romney campaign remove all network material from the ad

Romney campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstom said after the event that the campaign had received the letter and was reviewing it, but believed it fell under legal "fair use" guidelines. In the meantime, the ad will continue to air across Florida.

On a third front, Romney surrogates Saturday continued to appear at Gingrich campaign stops, chatting with reporters and jousting with Gingrich campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond.

Fehrnstrom described the surrogates -- Reps. Charlie Bass (R-NH), Connie Mack (R-FL) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) -- as a "truth squad," and said the Romney campaign got the idea from Gingrich, who has promised to trail President Obama around the country to seek out opportunities to debate the president, should Gingrich become the Republican nominee.

The Romney campaign would not say if the "truth squads" would continue after the Florida primary.