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The Gingrich Counterattack in Florida

Now comes the counterattack.
After weeks of taking it on the chin in Florida without throwing a punch, the Gingrich side has  finally begun to fight back with TV attack ads of its own.
Among the new ads is one from a pro-Gingrich super PAC that takes the personal attacks to a new level, suggesting Romney was associated personally with “illegal activity” in a massive Medicare fraud in the 1990s. The fact is Romney was never accused of wrongdoing in that case.

More Florida Fouls

Newt Gingrich falsely claimed he never favored a federal mandate requiring individuals to have health insurance.
Romney repeated a false accusation that President Obama failed to denounce Hamas rocket attacks in a speech to the United Nations. And Santorum insisted that Muslim terrorists are seeking missile bases in Cuba — a wild claim based most likely on mistranslations of an Italian newspaper report.
These were among the factual fouls that we noted as four GOP presidential candidates met for yet another debate.

Florida Ad War: Mitt Pounds Newt

The air wars in a pivotal Florida Republican primary race have so far been a decidedly one-sided affair, with Mitt Romney and a pro-Romney super PAC saturating the airwaves for weeks with a slew of attack ads aimed chiefly at Newt Gingrich. …

Gingrich Spanish Radio Ad Pulled

Before we got a chance to write about it, Newt Gingrich yanked a Spanish-language radio ad off the airwaves in Florida. The reason: No, it wasn’t a stellar fact-checking by journalists. Rather, it was Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s complaint that the ad’s criticism of Mitt Romney was “inaccurate, inflammatory, and doesn’t belong in this campaign.”
Gingrich’s ad had called Romney “the most anti-immigrant candidate,” a claim to which Rubio strenuously objected. He told the Miami Herald: “The truth is that neither of these two men is anti-immigrant.

Disgrace, Influence Peddling and Other Debate Charges

Newt Gingrich complained that in one early burst at the first Florida debate, Mitt Romney said “at least four things that are false” about him. Now Gingrich has specified which claims he was talking about, and we’ve checked the evidence he promised he would — and did — post on his website.
We conclude that two were not false; one was (mostly); and one is a matter of interpretation. In all cases, the claims are in need of further explanation and context.

Factual Flubs in Florida

The four remaining candidates debated once again, this time in Tampa, Florida — where facts took a beating.
Mitt Romney falsely claimed the Navy is smaller now than at any time since the start of World War I. (It had fewer ships as recently as four years ago.) And Newt Gingrich again claimed credit for balancing federal budgets that were voted on after he left the House.
The event was sponsored in part by NBC News,

Did Gingrich ‘Slash’ Federal Spending?

Winning Our Future’s new TV ad falsely claims Newt Gingrich “slashed” spending in his four years as House speaker. Federal spending went up 18 percent from 1995 to 2000, the time frame mentioned in the ad.
In addition, the ad credits Gingrich for “record-breaking surpluses.” There were surpluses for four straight years — from fiscal years 1998 through 2001 — but Gingrich already had left Congress in January 1999. The largest of those surpluses came in fiscal year 2000,

South Carolina Smackdown

Facts were sometimes used as blunt instruments as the four remaining GOP presidential candidates hammered away at each other in the last debate before Saturday’s South Carolina primary. Santorum and Romney tangled …

Gingrich’s Plan: Nearly Zero Tax for Romney

Newt Gingrich joked that he ought to rename his proposed 15 percent flat tax the “Mitt Romney Flat Tax,” so “all Americans would pay the rate Mitt Romney paid.” Actually, not all Americans. Under Gingrich’s tax plan, Romney would likely pay closer to zero percent.
Although he has not released his tax records, Romney this week revealed an approximation of his effective tax rate:
Romney, Jan. 17: What’s the effective rate I’ve been paying? It’s probably closer to the 15 percent rate than anything.

Newt’s Faulty Food-Stamp Claim

Newt Gingrich claims that “more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history.” He’s wrong. More were added under Bush than under Obama, according to the most recent figures.
The former speaker made that claim Jan. 16 in a Republican debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and his campaign organization quickly inserted the snippet in a new 30-second TV ad that began running Jan. 18 in South Carolina.
Gingrich would have been correct to say the number now on food aid is historically high.