5) Rep. Brad Miller
, D-N.C., has decided to retire
rather than run challenge Democratic Rep. David Price
in a merged district. He'll make his official announcement later this morning.
4) Rep. Connie Mack
, a Mitt Romney
supporter, is following Newt Gingrich
all around Florida and criticizing the former speaker. "I'm going to be wherever he is. I don't know if it's normal or not, but I know the people of the state of Florida deserve an answer on this," Mack told the Wall Street Journal
3) Gingrich, meanwhile, vows to have a permanent U.S. base on the moon
by the end of his second term, if elected president.
2) There was a point in the showdown between Romney and Gingrich in which most of the attacks being launched at the speaker were carried out by allies; whether it was surrogates of the former governor or the super PAC supporting his bid. That's no longer the case, and it's a sign of Gingrich's strength in the race and the extent to which he is threatening the former governor's chance in Florida. The New York Times
Since his loss in the South Carolina primary on Saturday, Mr. Romney and his aides have carefully planned lines of attack that have emptied their opposition research file against Mr. Gingrich and put Mr. Romney in the midst of a highly personal battle in which he is no longer relying on advertising by an outside group to take the toughest shots at his opponent.
Mr. Romney is now fully participating in his campaign's efforts to attack Mr. Gingrich's morals and raise doubts about his emotional stability. Whether he can be withering enough without turning off voters or will appear too politically calculated is one of the biggest tests so far of his skills as a candidate.
1) Even as Gingrich is charging two new polls in Florida
suggest Romney fares much better against President Obama
than does the ex-speaker. The main reason for this is Romney's standing among independents is much stronger. Electability was a major part of voters' calculus in South Carolina. If it's a major part of the decision of Florida's GOP electorate, Romney could be all smiles next Tuesday night.