TPM News

Adam Smith, political editor of the Tampa Bay Times, reports that Newt Gingrich will address the Hispanic Leadership Conference on January 27 in Miami.

Gingrich will join a panel of speakers at the two-day event that includes Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).

While members of the Republican party and conservative intelligentsia are lining up to rebut Newt Gingrich’s recent attacks against Mitt Romney, a key financier of the former House Speaker is separating himself from those very criticisms.

A source close to Sheldon Adelson, the casino mogul who recently made a $5 million donation to the pro-Gingrich Super PAC, has told the Las Vegas Sun that the self-made billionaire is not affiliated with “King of Bain,” the 28 minute anti-Romney documentary that’s being propped up by Winning Our Future:

“The key to remember here is that he gave a donation to support Newt,” the source said. “What happens from the time when that contribution lands with that PAC to now, he’s not involved with. He’s not been involved in the strategies and the tactics.”

Former Sen. George Allen (R-VA), who is seeking a comeback to the Senate seat he narrowly lost in 2006, has a new challenger in the Republican primary with the potential hammer him from the right: State Delegate Bob Marshall.

Marshall confirmed to the Richmond Times-Dispatch that he is planning to announce his candidacy in the coming days, with a simple answer of "Yes."

Marshall previously ran for Senate in 2008, when the GOP nomination was decided by a state convention rather than a primary. At that convention, he nearly defeated former Gov. Jim Gilmore, who won by a margin of just 66 votes.

This time around, though, the nomination will be decided in a primary on June 12 -- which Allen is heavily favored to win. Allen already has over $2 million cash on hand, and the full support of the Republican Party machinery, which three other Tea Party-style challengers have failed to dent at all. (Indeed, the general election is practically in full swing already, with Allen and presumptive Democratic nominee Tim Kaine having held a heated debate this past December.) But along the way, Marshall might be able to generate some fireworks.

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In the course of Rick Santorum’s stump speech against Mitt Romney — casting his rival as a a moderate whose policies were insufficiently distinguishable from President Obama’s — the candidate made a potentially eyebrow-raising (but possibly accidental) turn of phrase.

The New York Times reports on Santorum’s campaign swing:

As he traveled across South Carolina on Thursday, Mr. Santorum urged voters to dismiss the conventional wisdom that Mitt Romney has an upper hand in the nominating contest. He said the party can win back the White House only by offering a “clear contrast” with President Obama.

“We need contrasts,” Mr. Santorum said, “not just a paler shade of what we have.”

An "extremely generous donor" gave $50,000 to James O'Keefe's Project Veritas to fund their voter fraud stunt in New Hampshire on Tuesday, the conservative activist said in a email to supporters.

"Our Voter Fraud investigation is being funded with a gift of $50,000 from an extremely generous donor -- but that covers the cost of just ONE national project," O'Keefe wrote in a fundraising email.

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National Journal reports:

First, Republican businessman Bill Maloney announced he would likely challenge Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, setting up a rematch of their 2011 contest. And on Thursday, GOP sources confirmed that Republican businessman John Raese filed paperwork for a Senate run, triggering a rematch with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.

Raese will be making his fifth run for statewide office -- he previously ran in 1984, 1988, and 2006 as well as in 2010, when he faced Manchin. Manchin defeated him by ten points after a tough campaign in which Raese tried to tie the then-governor to President Obama, who is very unpopular in the state. Manchin, meanwhile, successfully cast Raese as a carpetbagger who was out of touch with West Virginians. On Thursday, Democrats were quick to use the same line of attack.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) will return to the Ed Sullivan Theater tonight for an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman (11:30 pm ET).

McCain has seen an uptick in media appearances ever since he emerged as Mitt Romney’s chief surrogate earlier this month.