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South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis, a Romney supporter, and Ann Romney on Saturday were on separate automated phone messages attacking Newt Gingrich’s ethics record in Congress.

“Look at how they’ve lived their life,” Ann Romney says, according to the AP. “And that’s why I think it’s so important to understand the character of a person.”

Saturday, the Romney campaign celebrated the 15th anniversary of Newt Gingrich’s ethics charges:




Fifteen Years Ago Today, Newt Gingrich Became The First House Speaker In American History To Be Reprimanded By His Colleagues.

The House Voted “Overwhelmingly” to Reprimand Gingrich and Ordered Him to Pay a $300,000 Penalty After He Violated House Rules and Misled Ethics Investigators.

As Newt Gingrich surges in South Carolina just before the primary, Mitt Romney launched a new line of attack, calling on Gingrich to release the details of his work as a consultant for Freddie Mac. Newt has previously claimed he served as a historian to them.



"Didn't he say he was going to release information about his relationship there?" Romney asked. "Let's see what report he wrote for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, what his conclusions were and what the contract looked like. I thought he said he was going to do that."

If the CBS News exit polls are accurate, they show good news for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Nearly two-thirds of respondents in the network’s exit polling said that the presidential debates were an “important factor” in their decision. Gingrich was widely considered to have turned in the best performance the debates held in the state on Monday and Thursday, as Romney stumbled on questions about his unreleased tax returns and generally faded into the background.

“A majority of voters — 53 percent — said they made up their mind about who to back within the last few days,” CBS’s Brian Montopoli wrote, more numbers that would suggest a big night for Gingrich, as he overtook Romney in the polls during the last week of campaigning in South Carolina.

No matter how Rick Santorum performs in South Carolina Saturday night, the former senator says he’s staying in the race through Florida.

Santorum is anticipating a fourth-place finish in the Palmetto State, but he’s hoping to beat Ron Paul for third, the New York Times reports.

Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) made the case in Lowell, MA on Friday that letting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire would create a burden for well-off teachers, firefighters, and police officers.

From the Lowell Sun, which held an editorial board meeting with the Senator:

Brown also took on President Barack Obama for proposing tax hikes on families who earn more than $250,000 per year, saying that would hurt "teachers, firefighters, policemen, folks who work two jobs."

Asked which public servants earn that much money, Brown said it is common for police officers to earn well over $100,000 annually when overtime is factored into their pay.

"You throw in a teacher who's working, plus a summer job, it adds up pretty quickly," he said. "There's quite a few of them."

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COLUMBIA, SC — The polls show Mitt Romney has the support of women here, while Newt Gingrich can’t count more on the backing of men. One can assume that Gingrich’s notorious martial fidelity problem could be behind the disparity.

But for one female voter I talked to at the Dreher High School polling place here, Mitt Romney’s still-hidden tax returns were more important than Gingrich’s behavior. She voted Newt.

“I’m scorned woman,” said the voter, who only wanted me to report her first name, Beth, because she just changed her last name after her divorce became final. Beth said her ex-husband did to her what Gingrich has done to two wives in the past — and yet she pulled the lever for Gingrich anyway.

“It’s a 10 year-old deal,” Beth said of Marianne Gingrich’s latest allegations about her ex-husband. “Move on and get over it.”

Beth’s vote for Gingrich was as much a vote against Mitt Romney as it it was a vote for getting over old stories of infidelity however. Had Romney released his tax returns, he would have had her vote Saturday.

“I didn’t know who I was going to vote for until I watched the last debate,” Beth told me. “Mitt just stuttered and stammered over [the tax returns.]”

COLUMBIA, SC — It’s a dreary, rainy day in much of South Carolina as voters head to the polls. So it’s a great time to sit inside and play around on the Internet.

To that end, Google’s got this great analysis of South Carolina search patterns in the past week.

The short version: the top Newt Gingrich-related search term in the past seven days here in South Carolina was “Callista”, followed by “Marianne”, “Newt Scandal” and “Newt Wives.”

Google reports a 690% increase in Newt-related searches since Monday, when Gingrich fired up the base with that Juan Williams moment at the Myrtle Beach debate.

The search patterns for Gingrich’s main rival here, Mitt Romney, were a little less salacious than the scandal-focused terms used for Gingrich. Google reports the top Palmetto Romney-related search was “Bio” followed by “Mitt South Carolina”, “2012” and “Mitt Platform”.

Mitt Romney knows how to read a poll. With the numbers swinging in Newt Gingrich's favor on the day of the South Carolina primary, the Romney team is abruptly lowering expectations and laying the groundwork for a tougher than anticipated race.

"I think I said from the very beginning South Carolina is an uphill battle for a guy from Massachusetts," Romney told reporters on Friday. "I knew that we're battling hard."

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