Afternoon Fix: Gingrich puts $500,000 in Iowa ads

at 06:08 PM ET, 12/28/2011

Gingrich is buying big, Romney and Santorum would vote for Paul, Kaptur and Kucinich are ready to battle and Jindal is robocalling.

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EARLIER ON THE FIX:

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WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:

* Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is out with a new ad in Iowa, his second in two days. “Main Street” declares it “baloney” to declare high unemployment “the new normal” and touts Gingrich’s plan to create a million new jobs. Between this spot and “Winning the Argument,” which praises the candidate’s debate skills, Gingrich is spending $500,000 in Iowa for the final week — a huge ramp-up from his previous buys.

* In a CNN interview, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said that he would vote for Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) if the libertarian-leaning lawmaker won the GOP nomination. Asked the same question, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum said he would also vote for Paul, but he’d “have to take a lot of antacid” first. Gingrich has said that he would not vote for Paul.

* About 75 Occupy Des Moines protesters surrounded Romney’s campaign offices today, demanding to be let into the locked building. Seven were arrested. Local Occupy activists have started focusing on the upcoming caucuses, and today’s demonstration was the kick-off in a planned series of high-profile protests leading up to Jan. 3rd.

* As expected, Ohio Democratic Reps. Marcy Kaptur and Dennis Kucinich will face each other in a primary for the state’s new 9th district. It will be a tough race — Kucinich has a bigger national profile and donor network, but the territory of the new seat is friendlier to Kaptur.

WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T MISS:

* A new survey from GOP pollster McLaughlin & Associates shows Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) leading Sen. Jon Tester (D) in next year’s Senate race by six points, 46 percent to 40 percent. Polling in this race has generally shown the two neck-and-neck.

* Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is robocalling for Texas Gov. Rick Perry in South Carolina, a thirty-second call describing the candidate as a “consistent conservative who will completely overhaul Washington.” Perry’s numbers in the state are weak, but he has enough money to keep going until the Jan. 21st primary.

* Eighty-year-old Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.) said at a news conference today that he had not made up his mind about whether or not to run for reelection, saying he wanted to wait for a final redistricting map. Coble was just discharged from the hospital after a respiratory infection; he said he “feels good” and is recovering.

* Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and current Idaho governor, former Idaho congressman Butch Otter (R) both said today that Gingrich lobbied them to support a controversial Medicare expansion in 2003. Both men back Romney. An expert from the Center For Responsive Politics, however, said that what Gingrich did was not technically lobbying; Gingrich campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond said the former lawmaker “often promoted good ideas.”

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