Gingrich, Romney spar ahead of Florida debate


TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Just hours before their first Florida debate, Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are sniping at each other.

Romney is calling Gingrich "erratic" and Gingrich is accusing Romney of lying.

Romney also says Gingrich engaged in "potentially wrongful activity" when he worked with former congressional colleagues to push for a prescription drug benefit for Medicare. He's calling on Gingrich to release his client list for that period.

Gingrich this morning mocked Romney, telling ABC that the former Massachusetts governor is someone "who has decided to make a stand on transparency without being transparent."

Gingrich is also hearing from Rick Santorum, who says the former House speaker is too "high risk" to be the nominee.

The sniping between Gingrich and Romney opened a Florida fight that is shaping up as a pivotal one in determining which of them will be the GOP's presidential nominee.

In the aftermath of Gingrich's South Carolina primary win, his campaign says it took in $1 million in the first 24 hours after the primary.

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237-a-08-(Former Governor Mitt Romney, R-Mass., presidential candidate, with reporters)-"health care companies?"-Mitt Romney calls on former Speaker Newt Gingrich to release his records from after he had left the House when he worked to get Congress to pass a prescription drug benefit for Medicare. ((note audio quality)) (23 Jan 2012)

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239-a-16-(Former Governor Mitt Romney, R-Mass., presidential candidate, with reporters)-"is a duck"-Mitt Romney says everything Former Speaker Newt Gingrich did after leaving Congress smacks of lobbying. ((note audio quality and length of cut)) (23 Jan 2012)

<<CUT *239 (01/23/12)>> 00:16 "is a duck"

GRAPHICSBANK 1126870: Republican presidential candidates Newt GINGRICH (top), and Mitt ROMNEY, with SOUTH CAROLINA state map lettering PRIMARY, and Republican party elephant symbol in banner on texture, partial graphic (21 Jan 2012)

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GRAPHICSBANK 1126864: Mitt Romney headshot, as 2012 Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor, graphic element on gray (21 Jan 2012)

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APPHOTO FLCD108: Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney holds a discussion on housing and foreclosure, Monday, Jan. 23, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (23 Jan 2012)

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APPHOTO DCJL131: Republican presidential candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is greeted by supporters after the mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) (22 Jan 2012)

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