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Sen. Talent says on the Romney oppo call about when Newt used to be the House Leader: “We were in a situation every morning where we having to get up every morning to check the clippings (this was in the days before the internet) to see what the speaker said that day to see what you were going to have to clean up in your own district.”

On Romney’s oppo call, Sen. Jim Talent says that if the nominee is Romney, then the election will be about “Obama’s failed policies.” But if Newt is the nominee, then “then the election is going to be about the Republican nominee,” which he says is exactly what the Democrats want.

In their first major swipe at Newt Gingrich, the Mitt Romney campaign is offering a “contrast” between the two candidates' on Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan, which Gingrich derided as “right wing social engineering.”

“That was just inaccurate,” ex-Sen. Jim Talent said. “The Speaker’s remarks just came from nowhere. Paul Ryan was completely blindsided, that’s why he said ‘With allies like this, who needs enemies on the left?’”

Here’s the funny thing: Gingrich and Romney actually have similar positions on Medicare, neither of which is Ryan’s plan. Both of them ended up proposing creating a premium support program in which seniors purchase private health insurance a la Ryan, but they both crucially said they’d keep traditional Medicare as an option alongside the system — something Ryan, very pointedly, would not do.

On the Romney camp oppo call, Sen. Jim Talent pulls a “more in sorrow than in anger” routine over Newt Gingrich, saying that while he’s often smart, “he also says outrageous things that come from nowhere, and he has a tendency to say them at times when they most undermine the conservative agenda.” The issue he particularly picks out is the Ryan Plan.

Talent also says of Newt, “he’s not a reliable and trusted conservative leader because he’s not a reliable leader.”

Mitt Romney is fully engaging Newt Gingrich today, and we’ve just had our look at one of the first attacks. The Romney campaign sent out a release Thursday entitled “WITH FRIENDS LIKE NEWT, WHO NEEDS THE LEFT?”, which calls out Gingrich for his comments early in the campaign criticizing the House Republican budget plan (which included a dismantling of Medicare in favor of a voucher system) “right wing social engineering.”

The European Central Bank has cut its main interest rate by a quarter-point to a record 1.0 low, Reuters reports, ahead of an important EU summit in Brussels Thursday. Reuters reports that ECB President Mario Draghi is expected to announce further action to support teetering banks.

Donald Trump sat down for a chat with Piers Morgan Wednesday night to explain why he will be a great debate moderator.

“I know a lot of the moderators, and some are wonderful, and some aren’t,” Trump said. “But I know the issues better than the moderators … every issue better than the moderators.”

Watch:



Reuters reports:



The gay half-sister of Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich slammed his position on gay rights on Wednesday and said she will support President Barack Obama, a Democrat, in the 2012 election.

The Washington Post reports that at least 274 U.S. troops' partial remains were dumped in a Virginia landfill. That number is much higher than the military had acknowledged.

New data from Gallup shows that the percentage of Republican voters enthusiastic to vote in 2012, which has been consistently higher than Democrats over this cycle in other polling, has dropped by nearly ten points. 49 percent of GOPers now say they are excited to get to the polls, versus 44 percent of Dems. Republican enthusiasm is down from a 58 percent score in September.

From Gallup:



The decrease in Republicans' enthusiasm could reflect the intensive and bruising battle for the GOP nomination going on within the party, and the rapid rise and fall of various candidates in the esteem of rank-and-file Republicans nationwide. Once the Republican nominee is determined next year, Republicans' voting enthusiasm may steady, but whether this is at a high, medium, or low level remains to be seen.

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