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Romney, Gingrich spar as Iowa contest looms

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Mitt Romney taunted his main Republican presidential rival Newt Gingrich on Wednesday after arriving in Iowa ahead of the crucial first vote in the 2012 White House race.

Latest polling indicates Gingrich’s popularity slipping in the run up to the January 3 Iowa caucuses after a barrage of millions of dollars of negative advertising from Romney’s slick campaign machine.

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Romney, a 64-year-old former Massachusetts governor, is gaining ground and a win here would make him very hard to beat if, as expected, he goes on to claim victory in the second contest on January 10 in the state of New Hampshire.

Gingrich, a former House speaker who has unexpectedly surged to the front of the Republican pack, had hit out angrily on Tuesday at attacks from Romney’s “millionaire friends” and challenged him to take him on face-to-face.

But Romney was unapologetic, in particular for a jibe mocking Gingrich’s inability to get on the ballot in Virginia by likening him to a comedy sketch character who becomes overwhelmed by a rapid assembly-line of candies.

“You know, I hope the speaker understands that was humor and I’m happy to tell my humorous anecdote to him face-to-face and look forward to seeing him,” Romney told Fox News.

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The longtime national frontrunner for the Republican nomination pointed out that he had already debated Gingrich and the other candidates about a dozen times and that two more debates were scheduled for January.

“If it comes down to this, the two of us, at some point we will debate person to person. But right now, there are a bunch of folks that are still in the race. Newt and I are not necessarily number one and number two across the nation.”

The latest Iowa poll showed Ron Paul — considered highly unlikely to be the eventual Republican nominee due to his staunchly libertarian views — with a 24 percent to 20 percent lead over Romney.

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Gingrich, who held a clear lead only a few weeks ago, trailed in third and had only 13 percent of the vote, narrowly ahead of Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann on 11 percent, according to the Public Policy Polling survey.

Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum were both credited with 10 percent support with former Utah governor and Chinese ambassador Jon Huntsman way back on just four percent.

Whoever claims the Republican nomination earns the right to take on a vulnerable President Barack Obama in the November 2012 general election.

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2012

Here are 7 wild, bizarre and pathetic moments from Trump’s ‘campaign launch’

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On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump held a rally that was billed as the official launch his re-election campaign — though he has never really stopped holding campaign rallies.

As expected, the president ranted, lied, and engaged in the raucous attacks that are central to his connection with Republican voters. Some of it was actually just sad, such as his continued obsession with Hillary Clinton.

Here are seven of the wildest, disturbing and pathetic moments from the rally:

1. He said Democrats "want to destroy our country as we know it."

Trump casually accuses Democrats of "want[ing] to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it." pic.twitter.com/4K79KlbEeR

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2012

British PM candidates clash over Brexit as Boris Johnson skips debate

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Candidates to become Britain's next prime minister clashed over Brexit strategy at their first debate on Sunday but the frontrunner, Boris Johnson, dodged the confrontation.

The 90-minute debate on Channel 4 featured the five remaining candidates and an empty podium for Johnson, the gaffe-prone former foreign secretary and former mayor of London.

In sometimes ill-tempered exchanges, four of the five candidates said they would seek to renegotiate the draft Brexit divorce deal agreed with Brussels even though EU leaders have repeatedly ruled this out.

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2012

Michael Cohen ordered back to Congress on March 6

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President Donald Trump's so-called "fixer" is being asked to return to Congress for more questioning on March 6.

Outside of the closed-door committee hearing Thursday, Cohen said that the House Intelligence Committee is seeking further information, according to Washington Examiner writer Byron York.

Michael Cohen finished closed-door testimony before House Intel Committee, says he's coming back for another session March 6. Again: No reason for secrecy. Transcripts should be released ASAP.

— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 28, 2019

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