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Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney retains a large lead in a new CNN poll of New Hampshire, with Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) moving past former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for second place. Romney gets 44 percent of the Republican electorate, with Paul 17 and Gingrich 16. Former Ambassador and Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who has made New Hampshire the sole focus of his campaign, is at 9 percent, followed by former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum at 4, Rep. Michele Bachmann with 3, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 2.

On Wednesday, Rick Santorum became the latest Republican candidate to promise to vote for Ron Paul in a general election should it come to it next year. Newt Gingrich is on record saying he couldn’t support Paul in a general election, Mitt Romney said Wednesday that he could.

Asked to explain his promise to support Paul if he somehow gets the Republican nomination, Santorum explained that a President Obama unburdened by the threat of a future election would be basically the same as Ron Paul in the White House anyway.

“A second term with Barack Obama, I’m not sure would look that different than a Ron Paul administration when it comes to national security,” Santorum told CNN.

He explained:



“It’s pretty clear from President Obama’s track record, he wants to disengage the world, turn over that job of international security to the United Nations, which is not where I want to go.”

Donald Trump may have left the Republican Party, but he's staying put in his role as the right's racial conspiracy theorist-in-chief.

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted his endorsement of the latest bit of holiday cheer from the extremist ant-Obama right. As the story goes on more than one conservative blog this week, Obama declined to offer an official statement marking Christmas, but made sure to get one out celebrating Kwanzaa.

This tale is as blatantly racial as it is demonstrably false, and it comes in the grand tradition of accusing Obama of supporting Ramadan over Easter and the old Trump favorite that Obama got into the Ivy League because he's not white, not because he's smart.

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Newt Gingrich, who failed to make it onto the ballot in Virginia, is alleging that fraud on the part of one of the singature collectors is to blame, reports CNN: “We hired somebody who turned in false signatures. We turned in 11,100 — we needed 10,000 — 1,500 of them were by one guy who frankly committed fraud,“ Gingrich said to a woman in Algona, Iowa.

Voters in South Carolina could receive this robo-call from Louisiana gov. Bobby Jindal on behalf of Rick Perry. On the call, Jindal says:



Gov. Perry is a consistent conservative who will completely overhaul Washington... Rick Perry is not afraid to tell the truth about the danger our country is in. South Carolina can make sure we have a conservative nominee. I believe Rick Perry is the strong conservative we need.


South Carolina gov. Nikki Haley also recorded calls this month for her candidate of choice: Mitt Romney.

Ever since Newt Gingrich told Wolf Blitzer he would vote for President Obama over Ron Paul, all the candidates have been posed the same question. Rick Santorum responded thusly, via ABC News:



"I'd vote for anybody over Barack Obama," Santorum said after a town hall here when asked specifically if he could vote for Paul. "But I'd have a lot of heartburn on the national security issues with Ron Paul."

In a web video, the Romney campaign juxtaposes the promises Barack Obama made in Iowa 4 years ago with the reality of the economic situation today. Finally, footage of Obama speaking in Davenport, Iowa is replaced with footage of Romney in Davenport on Tuesday, saying:



He said he would repair the nation and repair the world. And then across the nation, he went on and promised that he would put Americans back to work. And then he closed his speech with these words: he says "This is our moment, this is our time."


Watch:



The fall of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in Iowa has created an all out fight for the state between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). A new CNN poll shows Romney leading the state by three points with 25 percent of likely Iowa GOP caucus-goers to Paul’s 22 percent.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who has campaigned in the state for months only to see little traction in public polls, surged to third place in the CNN numbers with 16 percent. Gingrich follows with 14, Texas Gov. Rick Perry with 11, and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) with nine. Former Ambassador and Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman sees one percent.

Haaretz, a major liberal newspaper in Israel, reports:



Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who is leading the polls in advance of next Tuesday’s Republican caucuses in Iowa, denies allegations that he has promoted anti-Semitism, saying that this would be “a betrayal of my own intellectual heritage.”

“Any kind of racism or anti-Semitism is incompatible with my philosophy,” Paul said in an interview with Haaretz, conducted by email. “Ludwig von Mises, the great economist whose writing helped inspire my political career, was a Jew who was forced to leave his native Austria to escape the Nazis. Mises wrote about the folly of seeing people as part of groups rather than as individuals,” Paul said.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio has a lot of problems on his plate right now, not the least of which are two ongoing investigations surrounding a Latino military veteran who died after a brief stay in his officers' custody.

So it begs the question: How could the Arizona sheriff find time to jet to Iowa this week for two days of campaigning on behalf of presidential hopeful Rick Perry?

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