Gingrich gets infusion of cash

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The Gingrich campaign said the candidate is using the influx of money to hire additional staff and to open new offices in Florida, a key swing state in the general election.

Romney has responded to his drubbing in South Carolina, where until just days ago he was expected to win and seal the Republican nomination as the inevitable candidate to challenge Obama, with a newfound aggressiveness.

"He had to resign in disgrace. I don't know whether you knew that," Romney said of Gingrich's time as House speaker in the 1990s.

Gingrich was given an ethics reprimand by the lower congressional chamber and fined $300,000.

Gingrich also carries the baggage of three marriages and acknowledged marital infidelities, facts that should deny him support from the evangelical Christian base of the party. But those voters clearly overlooked Gingrich's past in South Carolina, one of the most conservative U.S. states.

The primary there was the first in a Southern state. Behind the scenes, aides also indicated that Romney would go after Gingrich's character in Florida as a way to distinguish himself - a father of five who has been married to the same woman for 42 years - from his rival.

Publicly, Romney has refused to engage on the subject, including an ABC News interview with Gingrich's second wife, Marianne, who said the former speaker asked her for an open marriage so he could continue having an affair with the House staffer who is now his third wife.

Instead, Romney on Monday accused Gingrich of engaging in "potentially wrongful activity" in his consulting work over the past decade but offered no proof that Gingrich had engaged in wrongful behavior when, after leaving Congress, he worked with former colleagues to push for a prescription drug benefit for Medicare.

Gingrich has never been a registered lobbyist. Romney has also attacked Gingrich's time working for the quasi-government mortgage giant Freddie Mac, calling again for him to release records related to his consulting work for them.

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are public-private organizations that guarantee private mortgages and have been roundly criticized for their alleged role in the near financial meltdown in the final months of the George W. Bush administration.

As the Florida campaign heats up, former Pennsylvanian Sen. Rick Santorum will be battling to rise above third place, where he finished in South Carolina. The remaining candidate, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, is foregoing campaigning in the state.

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