Afternoon Fix: Gingrich assails Romney for ‘bankrupting and laying off employees’ at Bain

at 05:59 PM ET, 12/12/2011

Gingrich goes there on Romney’s business record; Romney spars with a gay veteran in New Hampshire; and Hirono’s poll shows her leading Case in Hawaii.

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WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:

* Mitt Romney got into a bit of a sparring match this morning with a gay Vietnam veteran in New Hampshire. The man asked Romney whether he agreed with a repeal of the state’s law allowing same-sex marriage; Romney said yes. After a little back and forth, Romney’s aides told him he had to get to a Fox News interview. “Oh, I guess the question was too hot,” said the man, 63-year-old Bob Garon. Romney responded: “No, I gave you the answer. You said you had a yes-or-no [question]. I gave you the answer.” Garon later said he liked Ron Paul and that Romney isn’t trustworthy.

* So much for that not-attacking-my-opponents thing. Newt Gingrich today laid into Romney today for his record at Bain Capital, suggesting Romney got rich off others’ misery and alluding to Romney’s ill-thought-out $10,000 bet from Saturday’s debate. “I would just say if Governor Romney would like to give back all the money he has earned from bankrupting and laying off employees over his years at Bain, then I would be glad to then listen to him, and I bet you $10 -- not $10,000 -- that he wouldn’t take the offer,” Gingrich said. The remarks came in response to Romney’s criticism of the money Gingrich earned working for Freddie Mac.

* The tea party-aligned group FreedomWorks has endorsed freshman Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) over Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) for Republican Conference vice chairman — solidifying the race as a tea party-versus-establishment contest. And in a sign of how this is becoming a proxy fight for tea partiers everywhere, Michigan Senate candidate Clark Durant (R) — a tea party favorite — is endorsing Johnson.

* Documents obtained by a government watchdog group through a public records request show House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) team and the National Republican Congressional Committee played a role in drawing a proposed congressional redistriting map in Ohio. This isn’t terribly surprising to anyone who has followed redistricting, of course, but the fact that there is now proof of their involvement could feed support for a referendum to overturn the GOP’s map. “We provide resources and information to our Members at their request,” NRCC spokesman Paul Lindsay told The Fix.

WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T MISS:

* Florida Republican activist Susie Wiles, who began the cycle as former Utah governor Jon Huntsman’s campaign manager before stepping down following a rough launch, has signed on with Romney’s team. Wiles left the Huntsman campaign in July, saying at the time that she always intended to get the campaign off the ground before moving on. Apparently moving on meant supporting another candidate altogether.

* Rep. Mazie Hirono’s (D-Hawaii) campaign has released a poll showing her with an 18-point lead on former congressman Ed Case in the state’s Democratic Senate primary. The Benenson Strategy Group poll shows Hirono at 54 percent and Case at 36 percent. The poll also shows Hirono has better personal numbers and is seen as more electable. Case released a poll earlier this year showing him faring far better in the general election than Hirono; the poll earned him a rebuke from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has lined up behind Hirono.

* Texas GOP Senate candidate Ted Cruz caught the same bug as Gingrich, and has challenged frontrunner and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to five Lincoln-Douglas style debates. But Dewhurst says he will take part in just one or two.

* Elizabeth Warren’s primary path is now clear, after state Rep. Thomas Conroy dropped out of the Massachusetts Democratic Senate primary Monday.

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