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Michael Reagan did not hold back at a Newt Gingrich rally in Tampa. “If you wake up in the morning, and you yearn to be free…and you want that shining city on a hill back where it belongs. Then you found Ronald Reagan, he’s living in each and every one of you.” Now go out and vote for Newt Gingrich, Michael told supporters.

In Florida, the Cuban and Jewish populations are important voters to court. Newt Gingrich is certainly playing up his anti-Castro bona fides. Now, he has a particularly odd charge against Romney as he reaches for the Jewish vote. Going off a report by the New York Post, Gingrich remind voters that in 2003, as governor of Massachusetts, Romney vetoed $600,000 in funds intended to allow poor old Jewish residents of nursing homes to get Kosher food.

“He eliminated serving kosher food for elderly Jewish residents under Medicare,” Gingrich said at a rally in Florida Monday morning. “I did not know this, it just came out yesterday,” he said. Somewhat strangely, he continued, “The more we dig in, I understand why George Soros in Europe yesterday said it makes no difference if it’s Romney or Obama, we can live with either one.”

In addition to the Gallup swing state poll out on Monday morning, DC firm Purple Strategies is out with their monthly Purple Poll, showing a small lead for President Obama against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and a larger one against former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The Purple poll uses interviews with voters from Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. January’s numbers show Obama over Romney 46 – 44 in the twelve states, and up 49 – 43 on Gingrich.

From the pollster’s analysis:



The continuing challenge facing Obama becomes clear when we ask Purple State voters who they believe will do the best job on the economy and creating jobs. They believe Romney would do a better job than Obama (43%-42%). The president leads Gingrich on this measure by just four points (45%-41%). While the economy is on the upswing, voters’ confidence in Obama’s handling of it will be important to monitor.



We took a close look at Florida in this PurplePoll, and we see substantial challenges for President Obama in a state that has 29 electoral votes at stake. He trails Romney in this critical swing state (44%-46%), and leads Gingrich by just a single point (47%-46%). Additionally, his approval rating is substantially worse in Florida than it is across Purple states – just 40% approve of the job he is doing, and 56% disapprove. Clearly, the president has work to do moving forward.

The office of Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), who suffered a stroke last week, released this statement Monday from Northwestern Memorial Hospital:



"Senator Kirk's recovery is continuing. He is alert, talking and responding well to questions. He has been upgraded to fair condition and we are very pleased with his progress," said Richard Fessler, MD, PhD, neurosurgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and professor of neurological surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Newt Gingrich has a new TV ad up in Florida in both English and Spanish, claiming that Barack Obama is moving the country toward socialism or communism as a way to appeal to Florida’s Cuban voters. A translation of the Spanish ad from the Miami Herald:



My family came to this country looking for liberty and a dream. But now the United States is resembling the government they fled. Socialized medicine, taxes that paralyze businesses. But Newt Gingrich wants to rebuild the United States that we so love. Newt balanced the budget and created 11 million new jobs. He will be able to do it again. My family knows what it is to lose the homeland they love. It won't happen to us again. Newt knows us. Together, let's retake the country we so love. I'm Newt Gingrich, and I approve this message.


Watch in Spanish:





The English version is a little more subtle. The Washington Post has it here.

Syrian forces on Monday tightened their grip on the outskirts of Damascus, as Europe prepared to send diplomats to the UN to lobby for a resolution condemning President Assad’s regime, Reuters reports.

Jennifer Granholm didn't expect to get her own TV show. The opportunity for Michigan's former governor to host a primetime program on Current TV came "completely out of the blue," she said.

But here's her shot. Granholm's new program, The War Room, premieres Monday evening at 9 p.m. ET and will round out Current's primetime line-up, following The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur and Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Granholm spoke to TPM by phone about her motivation to do the show and what she hopes it will mean to viewers.

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There doesn't seem to be an enormous amount of drama ahead of Tuesday's Florida Republican primary. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has taken a consistent lead in the polls there over the last few days, and on Monday morning two new surveys showed him with a lead of 14 and 19 points.

Quinnipiac numbers showed Romney moving to a healthy 43 - 29 advantage over former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, his toughest competition in the state. Gingrich briefly held the lead in Florida polling last week, directly after his January 21st victory in the South Carolina primary, but since then Romney fought back hard in both televised debates and on television. The approach has led to Gingrich falling back while Romney has collected new GOP voting blocs.

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A day before the Florida primary, Mitt Romney has released a new video urging voters to stand with him on Tuesday. The video features Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño supporting Romney as well as Romney’s own attacks on President Obama.

Watch:



The DNC Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has released the following statement on RNC Chair Reince Priebus' comparison of President Obama to the Italian cruise ship captain who’s come under media fire for apparently abandoning his sinking vessel:









“Chairman Priebus should be ashamed of his comments comparing President Obama to the captain of the wrecked Italian cruise ship. That he would compare the President of the United States with a man now charged with manslaughter for his actions shows a lack of respect for the President that is beyond the bounds of appropriate political discourse. More importantly, it shows a galling lack of sensitivity for the victims of this tragedy and their families, as well as those still living in anguish because their loved-ones are still missing.

“Chairman Priebus crossed the line. People died, and he is exploiting and making light of a tragedy for political purposes. I call on Chairman Priebus to apologize for his comments and for the hurt he may have caused in making them."

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