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The battle of the pre-debate endorsements continues today with Rick Perry’s announcement that he’s picked up the backing of state Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera ®, the leader of the legislature’s Republican majority.

New Hampshire has always been former Mass Gov. Mitt Romney's territory in the GOP primary process. Now that national frontrunner Texas Gov. Rick Perry is in the race, New Hampshire is doubling down....on Romney.

A Suffolk University/WHDH-TV poll shows Romney with nearly three times as much support as the next closest GOP contender, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). Romney is ahead of the field with 41 percent of the total, with Paul 14 percent and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman the only other candidate with a surprising 10 percent. Huntsman has run a campaign declaring himself the more moderate and electable choice, railing against some of the more controversial statements of frontrunner Perry on evolution and global warming, and it seems to have paid off in the New England. Perry himself only gets 8 percent of the primary vote in the poll.

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Pakistan would not tolerate any incursion on its territory by U.S. forces targeting militant groups, the country’s interior minister said on Thursday, calling for Washington to provide the intelligence Islamabad needs to take them out itself.

Via Reuters.

The S&P on Thursday shed 2.8% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 3.2%, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Mystery solved … sort of. An archivist on Wednesday discovered a missing lunar rock from the Apollo 17 mission, one of the moon rocks NASA gave to each state in the 1970s, in former President Bill Clinton’s gubernatorial papers. But what’s not clear is how the rock ended up there.

In a phone interview with USA Today on Wednesday, Mitt Romney shared his thoughts on Sarah Palin’s continued flirtation with a run for the GOP nomination. When asked if he thought the former Alaskan governor would enter the race, Romney replied:

"I don't think there's any way of predicting that. I think it would be a good thing if she did. She would make the race that much more exciting, bring more people to watch the debates, and I hope she gets in."

While an officially declared candidacy would certainly jolt the field, Palin still refuses to make that decision. Technically, she has until November to file the paperwork necessary to participate in the primaries.

The United Nations General Assembly convenes again this morning, with Iranian president Mahmound Ahmadinejad scheduled to speak. Watch:

According to Politico, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) will be launching a three-week, $1 million ad buy on Thursday. There will be three different spots broadcast on both national cable and local channels in early-voting states.

The campaign is seeking to take advantage of a window in which Paul’s polling remains relatively strong and before the other candidates launch their own ad spots in order to launch the libertarian into the first tier of candidates currently populated by Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, and Michelle Bachmann.

“We think that now is the time to break through,” Paul advisor Jesse Benton said. “When we move up in Iowa and New hampshire, we’re not going to be able to be ignored.”

Two of the spots paint a positive picture of Paul; focusing on his military service and constituent service work. The third, which will launch a bit later is expected to take shots at Gov. Rick Perry.

The ads will run heavily on Fox News and local broadcast networks in Iowa and New Hampshire. They will also run lightly on networks in South Carolina and Nevada. The campaign is expected to release direct-mail and internet advertising in tandem with the ad buy.

Inevitable, he was not. But will losing the first place position actually boost Mitt Romney?

When Texas Gov. Rick Perry grabbed the spotlight and the lead in the GOP presidential race, the former Mass. Gov. definitely took a step back. He had long held a lead in the 2011 national polls. Then Perry, the viable candidate hard right conservatives had been looking for all along, displaced Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) as Tea Party favorite and, this being the Republican primary, took those votes to build a lead. Then voters of all kinds got to know Perry more fully, and he went ahead and touched the third rail of American politics.

Now, as you may or may not have noticed, Mitt Romney has likely made this a two person race.

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