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Newt Gingrich is telling reporters not to expect a counterattack to the Romney campaign's epic onslaught of attack. After all, staying positive has gotten him this far.

"My only observation," he told the National Journal on Thursday, "is every time these guys have attacked each other, they've gone down. So I don't know that being the attack dog in the Republican Party is necessarily an asset, you know a big asset. It's not a game I'm going to play."

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A new national poll from Fox News shows a similar result in the GOP race: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich leads the way with 36 percent, followed by former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney with 23 percent and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) third with 12. The rest of the field is in single digits.

There was one nugget in the poll relating to the prospect of Gingrich in the general election. FOX asked all registered voters about how they would view a candidate who admitted to having an extramarital affair: 26 percent said it would “completely disqualify a candidate,” versus 64 who said they could still vote for one.

Launching an aggressive attack on rival Newt Gingrich, the Romney campaign is engaging a character-assassination strategy, painting the former speaker as unfit for a position of leadership.

Under pressure as polls show Gingrich leading the GOP candidate field, Mitt Romney began a full-frontal assault on the former speaker, kicked off with a conference call Thursday morning with former-Sen. Jim Talent and former-Gov. John Sununu acting as his attack-dogs. The image of Gingrich that emerged from the call was that of a man whose erratic behavior is dangerous to conservatives.

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The second person found dead during a shooting spree on the Virginia Tech campus on Thursday appears to be the gunman, the Associated Press reported late Thursday, citing a law enforcement official.

The official said that the gunman was dead but did not explain how he died, nor did the official confirm that the gunman was the second victim. But Virginia State Police Sgt. Robert Carpentieri said “you can kind of read between the lines.”

The attacks on Newt Gingrich by the Romney campaign are coming fast and furious today. The latest goes after the former Speaker for some of his wackier policy proposals over the years.

"Speaker Gingrich's attack on the Ryan plan as 'right-wing social engineering' is not only wrong, but also hypocritical," Romney spokeswoman Gail Gitcho said in a statement. "Over parts of five decades in Washington, Speaker Gingrich has consistently promoted an active, expansive role for government."

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Rick Perry has turned down the invitation to the NewsMax debate on December 27 -- which will be hosted by Donald Trump, the businessman, media personality and, most controversially, prominent birther activist.

Only Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have accepted the invitation, while Michele Bachmann has not yet given an answer.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is also criticizing the event, and giving some encouragement to candidates who might choose to skip it.

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In his attempt to stave off Newt Gingrich's surge, Mitt Romney is rapidly transforming himself today into the chief defender of Paul Ryan's Medicare plan.

Democrats are somewhat taken aback -- this is the Romney they were hoping for all along. Remember that it was just a matter of weeks ago that Romney was tacking to the center of the GOP field when it came to entitlements, championing Social Security against pre-implosion Rick Perry's attacks.

That Romney was a tougher one for Democrats to face in the general election: by beating Perry partially with his defense of a key entitlement, he threatened to emerge from the primary as the guy who stood up to the Tea Party extremism within his party while striving to become the moderate president he thinks Americans want. That's a much harder sell now.

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Updated, 9:48 am ET, Friday, December 9

Microsoft attempted to woo developers and wow the tech press this week by offering a fairly extensive preview of, as well as a contest for, its forthcoming Windows Store, an online applications hub for Windows 8 desktop computers and mobile devices. But it's not going over so well abroad.

The store is supposed to launch in February 2012, alongside the Windows 8 operating system, with apps starting at the price of $1.49 (as opposed to the most standard $0.99 price in the Apple App Store and Android Market), the Verge reported.

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