With the Republican presidential race blown wide open after Newt Gingrich's back-from-the-dead victory over Mitt Romney in South Carolina Saturday, the race's remaining candidates are now turning their attention to Florida.
The once formidable Romney is now showing vulnerability: a series of missteps in the week leading up to South Carolina; having his Iowa victory snatched from him and given to Rick Santorum; losing South Carolina--where he was once the heavy favorite--two days later. The foregone conclusion of a Romney candidacy is no longer, and his opponents are licking at the chops to knock him out once again in Florida.
Romney is wasting no time attacking Gingrich, reminding voters about the ethics charges Gingrich faced while House Speaker in the 90s.
"He had to resign in disgrace, I don't know if you knew that. He actually resigned after four years of disgrace" Romney told a Florida audience.
Gingrich fired back on national TV Sunday. A win in Florida by Gingrich would ensure that the race between the two men continues at least into March.
"Governor Romney may be running for CEO. I'm running for president. The president of the United States has to understand the government of the United States. Barack Obama clearly didn't, and candidly I doubt if Governor Romney would," Gingrich said on CBS' "Face the Nation."
The barbs between the two men are only expected to increase as the Jan. 31 primary gets closer.
Gingrich has already scored one point against Romney: after dogging Romney last week to release his tax returns, Romney has now announced that he will release his tax returns Tuesday. Prior to Saturday's loss, Romney maintained he wouldn't release his returns until April.
Santorum, despite finishing third in South Carolina, maintains that he is competing in Florida. Ron Paul is staying in the race as well, and will participate in the debates leading up to the primary, but will not campaign in Florida; Paul will instead focus his attention on states where he is more competitive.
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