“In the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Callista Gingrich is the silent partner. Ann Romney is anything but. The wife of Mitt Romney has latched on to her surrogacy role with zeal, providing potent testimony to her husband’s character,” The Boston Globe writes. “Gingrich stands silently beside her husband as he makes his case for himself. The contrast was evident on Friday outside Miami, when Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich gave back-to-back speeches at a meeting of the Hispanic Leadership Network.”
Political campaigns are getting their message to Florida voters with highly specific – and often surprising – cable news targeting, writes the New York Times.
GINGRICH: "His lead in this state's polls having evaporated, Newt Gingrich risks leaving Florida with little momentum and few immediate opportunities to regain an edge against his top rival, Mitt Romney. Mr. Gingrich, the former House speaker, has seen his rise blunted by a series of attacks on his leadership style and personal qualities coming from Mr. Romney, from Romney supporters and from a range of prominent figures within the Republican Party," The Wall Street Journal reports. "Four polls released over the weekend showed Mr. Romney holding leads of between eight and 16 percentage points ahead of Florida's GOP presidential primary on Tuesday. The harsh tone of the race here has put Mr. Gingrich on the defensive and diverted him from talking about his ideas to retool the economy and government services. Instead, his campaign has spent time defending Mr. Gingrich's record as speaker and the work he did for mortgage giant Freddie Mac."
Per Political Wire, a new Quinnipiac poll in Florida shows Mitt Romney has a 14 point lead over Newt Gingrich, 43% to 29%, with Ron Paul and Rick Santorum both at 11%. Just 7% are undecided, but 24% say they might change their mind by tomorrow's primary election.
The Washington Post looks back at Gingrich’s early political career and the “harsh political battlefield he helped create.”
Courting evangelical voters, Gingrich is also taking a hard line against embryonic stem cell research.
ROMNEY: The NYT’s Jeff Zeleny dives into Jeb Bush’s silence on an endorsement of Romney despite a full court press from the frontrunner’s team. Troubled by Romney’s immigration rhetoric, Bush “voiced his concern directly to Mr. Romney, two people close to him said, urging him to moderate his oratory and views to avoid a collapse of support among Hispanic voters in the general election. In his conversations about an endorsement, Mr. Bush also conveyed to Mr. Romney and his allies that his double-digit defeat in the South Carolina primary did not warrant an endorsement and he needed to ‘earn’ it.”
Despite Gingrich’s vow to soldier on past Florida, Boston still feels confident about Romney’s organization in the lower-profile contests throughout February, per the AP.
The Boston Globe: R. Bradford Malt is best known in legal circles as the chairman of Boston’s largest law firm, Ropes & Gray LLP. But last week, Malt burst into the national spotlight as the trustee responsible for overseeing Mitt Romney’s vast fortune and making controversial decisions to invest some of it in a Swiss bank account and funds based in exotic locales like the Cayman Islands. Since then, the corporate attorney has spent marathon days explaining the intricacies of Romney’s holdings to reporters across the country, and seen his defense of the Swiss account turned into a Democratic attack ad on YouTube.
Romney won the backing of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which blasted Gingrich as a “political consultant” who “burned bridges” during his tenure as Speaker.
‘Stop taking drugs because you’re killing people.’ Catch this from Romney this weekend before the Hispanic Leadership Network in Miami: “We have got to do a much better of job communicating to our children in this country whether they are Hispanic or not Hispanic that drugs are causing deaths around the world. … I hope they understand if they take one of these drugs that are being smuggled into this country they are partially responsible for deaths. I want them to understand the tens of thousands of people who are being killed by virtue of drug use in this country. It’s time for the United States of America to take responsibility for the pain and suffering and torture and murder that’s going on throughout Latin America. We are not a good example in that regard and that must change. If I’m president, I will campaign in a very aggressive way to our young people, ‘Stop taking drugs because you’re killing people.’”
SANTORUM: NBC’s Ali Weinberg and Andrew Rafferty report: “Speaking from the hospital room where he said his ailing 3-year-old daughter is making a "miraculous turnaround," Rick Santorum said that he would resume his campaign on Monday with stops in western caucus states. ‘She went through a very tough time the last 48 hours and this afternoon she made really a remarkable turn,’ Santorum told voters in Florida and Minnesota, via two tele-town halls Sunday night, of his daughter Isabella, who was rushed to the hospital the night before after developing pneumonia in both lungs.”