2012 Roundup

Mitt Romney still leads by a wide margin in New Hampshire, with 35 percent support in a poll released today of likely GOP primary voters by Democratic firm Public Policy Polling. Ron Paul is in second place (19 percent), followed by Newt Gingrich (17 percent), Jon Huntsman (13 percent), Michele Bachmann (5 percent), Rick Santorum (3 percent), Rick Perry (2 percent), and Gary Johnson (1 percent).

Over in South Carolina, Gingrich has a huge lead at 38 percent, according to a Clemson University poll of likely GOP primary voters released today. Romney is next at 21 percent, trailed by Paul (10 percent), Bachmann and Perry (5 percent), Huntsman (3 percent), and Santorum (2 percent).

Gingrich, falling in the Iowa polls, is making an ad buy of $242,000 — but he’s still way behind in TV commercial presence in Iowa, where many of the political TV ads being run attack him. But he now plans to do a 44-city bus tour of Iowa in the days leading up to the caucus. Campaigning in Iowa today, Gingrich expressed frustration over the barrage of attacks against him, saying, “It’s candidly very disappointing to see some of my friends who are running who have so much negative junk.”

Gingrich defended his Freddie Mac payments today, saying the approximately $35,000 a year he personally received from Freddie was “less than I was making per speech.”

Gingrich won the Tea Party Patriots straw poll according to the results announced today. Gingrich was backed by 31 percent, followed by Bachmann (28 percent), Romney (20 percent), Santorum (16 percent), Paul (3 percent), Perry (2 percent), and Huntsman (0.3 percent).

Perry blasted both Gingrich and Romney while campaigning in Iowa today.  “The Wall Street bailout was the single greatest act of thievery in American history. And Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney were for it. That’s what insiders do,” the Texas governor said.

Sarah Palin, asked about whether she was still contemplating a 2012 bid, said in an interview to be aired on Fox Business Network tonight that, “It’s not too late for folks to jump in. Who knows what will happen in the future.”

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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