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GOP Candidates in New Hampshire, South Carolina Jab at Frontrunner Romney

January 5, 2012 at 12:00 AM EST
Republican presidential candidates are out making their cases in New Hampshire and South Carolina, shaking hands and raising money -- hoping to oust GOP hopeful Mitt Romney from the front-runner spot in next week's first-in-the-nation primary.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to campaign 2012.

The presidential candidates focused on the man they need to beat, most of them jabbing at the front-runner ahead of the first-in-the-nation primary.

RICK SANTORUM (R): I just want to remind you that this is the most important election of your lifetime.

JUDY WOODRUFF: For Rick Santorum, the task at a town hall in Northfield, New Hampshire, was presenting himself as the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney, the man who beat him by eight votes in Iowa.

RICK SANTORUM: If you like what you heard and you are interested in helping us out, we need your help. I know the other candidates will say they need your help. They’re lying. I need your help, okay?

(LAUGHTER)

JUDY WOODRUFF: Santorum was getting more than just laughs. His campaign claimed a million dollars in contributions on Wednesday alone. The former Pennsylvania senator used the new media attention to take a swipe at Romney, telling voters, don’t settle for less than America needs.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman also hoped to stop the front-runner’s momentum in New Hampshire. At one event today, he declared, “We can’t afford to have a coronation for president.”

(APPLAUSE)

JUDY WOODRUFF: Newt Gingrich was on the same page at a senior center in Plymouth.

NEWT GINGRICH: There’s a huge difference between a Reagan conservative and a Massachusetts moderate. And I think that resonates. And I think that’s the central argument for this campaign.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Gingrich pursued that theme in a new television ad released today in both New Hampshire and South Carolina.

NARRATOR: Romney’s economic plan? Timid, parts of it virtually identical to Obama’s failed policy. Timid won’t create jobs, and timid certainly won’t defeat Barack Obama.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The target of all that attention started his day early, in New Hampshire, then flew to South Carolina for an afternoon rally. Mitt Romney touted himself as the only candidate who can block President Obama’s bid for a second term.

MITT ROMNEY (R): I don’t think he is a bad guy. I just think he’s way over his head. And when it came to protecting us from the national security issues of Iran, he’s failed us. And when it came to balancing our budget and reining in the extraordinary deficit, he failed us.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And Romney aired his own new ad, attacking the president’s economic program.

MITT ROMNEY: You’re seeing a president adopt policies which affect our economy based not upon what’s right for the American worker, but instead what’s right for their politics.

GOV. RICK PERRY, R-Texas: How are you?

JUDY WOODRUFF: Texas Gov. Rick Perry spent the day regrouping, having canceled some planned appearances in South Carolina. He said yesterday he hopes for a comeback there in the primary on Jan. 21.

And Congressman Ron Paul remained at home in Texas. He planned to start campaigning in New Hampshire tomorrow.