2012 ELECTION

Gingrich unloads on Romney, ads, in Florida

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The acerbic remarks came three days after Gingrich took a much more moderate tone in a televised debate in Tampa, when Romney sharpened his own attacks.

Gingrich strongly hinted he will be more aggressive in a CNN debate scheduled for Thursday night in Jacksonville. Romney, meanwhile, toured a Jacksonville factory that is closing because of the economy before he addressed several hundred people gathered outside.

He acknowledged that the live audience at Thursday's debate may be fairly raucous, a dynamic that seems to favor Gingrich and his populist, us-against-the-media and us-against-the-establishment style.

"There may be some give and take," Romney said. "That's always fun and entertaining, I know. If you all could get there, we'd love to see you all there cheering."

In his remarks, Romney criticized President Barack Obama and steered clear of Gingrich.

He called Obama's administration a "Groundhog Day" presidency in which nothing gets better.

Polls suggest the Florida primary is close, coming 10 days after Gingrich beat Romney by 12 percentage points in South Carolina.

Asked if he felt Florida was slipping toward Romney, Gingrich said, "I feel that it's useful for people to look at the totality of his record and ask yourself, 'How can a guy who literally owns stock in a Goldman Sachs investment fund that forecloses on Floridians run the ads he's been running?'"

Goldman Sachs employees and their families contributed $367,200 to Romney's campaign through Sept. 30, his largest source of campaign contributions, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Texas Rep. Ron Paul also were participating in Thursday's debate, the final one before the GOP presidential primary in Florida on Tuesday.

But both candidates have set their sights elsewhere and have largely stayed away from the Romney-Gingrich drama. Whoever wins Florida will score something no one has yet claimed in a tumultuous primary season: a second victory.

The first three contests have been won by three different candidates. Only Paul has yet to score a win. The hits for Romney and Gingrich were coming from many directions.

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