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More from Perry’s “suspension speech”:

“As a Texan i’ve never shied away from a fight,” he said. However, he noted he’d long admired former Texan governor Sam Houston, whom he described as “the great – if not the greatest – governor.” Watching his example, he said, meant “I know when it’s time to make a strategic retreat.”

Rick Perry said on Thursday that he saw no “viable path forward for me.” Calling it a “strategic retreat,” Perry announced he was suspending his campaign and endorsing Newt Gingrich.

Turns out Mitt Romney wasn't the first GOP candidate in 35 years to take Iowa and New Hampshire. In fact, the certification of Iowa caucus votes conducted by the state GOP shows Rick Santorum won - by 34 votes, but the party is officially calling it a "split decision."

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It’s time for closing arguments in South Carolina. Mitt Romney has a new ad up called “Ready to Lead,” touting his ability to turn the country. It’s an ad running against President Obama rather than his GOP rivals.


Although the Romney campaign hailed their previous 8 vote lead in Iowa as a “victory” their reaction to the news that Santorum actually won by 34 votes was to call the race “a virtual tie.” The Santorum camp’s own release didn’t toe this line and ABC News reports that the claim has gone down even worse with Santorum advisers in person:

“Well, someone should tell that to Mitt Romney [that Santorum actually won]. He sounds like a kid who didn’t get what he wanted for his birthday so he smashed the cake,” Brabender told ABC News when asked for his reaction to the news that Santorum might have won the first caucus state after all.

Rick Santorum has now been certified the winner in Iowa after trailing Mitt Romney by 8 votes in the state’s initial caucus night count. But the state party is still calling it a “split decision,” prompting an outcry from Santorum’s Iowa campaign manager Cody Brown.

“It is peculiar that the Republican Party of Iowa would prematurely declare Mitt Romney the "winner of the 2012 Iowa caucuses” when Romney led by eight votes without a single precinct certified (unofficial results),“ he told TPM. "It is even more peculiar that the RPI has not yet declared Rick Santorum ‘the winner of the 2012 Iowa caucuses’ after the certified results (official results) reveal that Rick Santorum defeated Mitt Romney by 34 votes. How can the RPI declare a winner using unofficial results and not declare a winner using official results? ”

BLUFFTON, SC — Newt Gingrich finished up his first public event of the day here and walked past reporters, who were yelling questions related to ABC News' upcoming ‘Marianne’ interview, without comment.

A new poll from American Research Group shows former House Speaker Newt Gingrich resurging in South Carolina after finishing fourth in Iowa and New Hampshire — the new ARG poll shows Newt on the come back with 33 percent of Republicans surveyed, while former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney sees 32 percent. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) rounds out the candidates in double digits with 19.

From ARG’s analysis:

Tea Party support has given Gingrich the lead. A total of 43% of Tea Party supporters say they will vote for Gingrich, up from 28% in the January 11-12 survey. Since that survey, Rick Perry has lost 7 percentage points among Tea Party supporters, Paul has lost 3 percentage points, and Romney and Santorum have lost 2 percentage points.

Newt’s ex-wife, Marianne Gingrich, sat down with ABC’s Brian Ross for an exclusive interview, saying Gingrich lacks the moral character to be president.

Watch the excerpt from the interview:

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In her most provocative comments, the ex-Mrs. Gingrich said Newt sought an “open marriage” arrangement so he could have a mistress and a wife. She said when Gingrich admitted to a six-year affair with a Congressional aide, he asked her if she would share him with the other woman, Callista, who is now married to Gingrich. “And I just stared at him and he said, ‘Callista doesn’t care what I do,’” Marianne Gingrich told ABC News. “He wanted an open marriage and I refused.”