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Gingrich: I wouldn’t vote for Ron Paul

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Gingrich is not positive on Paul, Romney thinks Gingrich is like Lucy, Santorum won’t say in if he’s dead last and Ben Nelson is going back to Nebraska.

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EARLIER ON THE FIX:

Ben Nelson retirement: How does it affect the Senate landscape?

Sen. Ben Nelson won’t seek reelection

New Jersey tilts redistricting battle toward GOP

Why (and how) Iowa votes first

Is Newt Gingrich going bust in Iowa?

Mitt Romney and the Iowa expectations game

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:

* Though he’s pledged to stay positive, former House speaker Newt Gingrich was harsh on Texas Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) in a CNN interview this afternoon. He called the candidate’s views “totally outside the mainstream of virtually every decent American” and that the congressman couldn’t win because “people won’t take him as a serious person.” He added that he personally wouldn’t vote for Paul, saying, “I think the choice of Ron Paul or Barack Obama would be a very bad choice for America.

* Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said today that Gingrich’s failure to qualify for the primary ballot in Virginia reminded him of a classic “I Love Lucy” episode. (A Gingrich aide had compared the setback to the bombing of Pearl Harbor.) “I think its more like Lucille Ball at the chocolate factory,” Romney said.” “So, I mean, you know, you gotta get it organized.” In response, on CNN, Gingrich again challenged Romney to a one-on-one debate: "I'd love to have him say that to my face.”

* If he totally flops in Iowa, Rick Santorum is out, the former Pennsylvania senator told a Des Moines radio station today. “If I finish dead last in the mix I'll go home but I don't think that's going to happen,” he said on WHO Radio.

* A 2006 memo surfaced today in which Gingrich praised the individual mandate implemented by Romney in Massachusetts. The mandate was originally a Republican idea and one that Gingrich repeatedly endorsed, so the memo delivers no big surprises. But it’s emergence makes it harder for Gingrich to attack his rival on the issue now.

* The founders of a 2008 website backing former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, “Huck’s Army,” have endorsed Santorum. Alex and Bret Harris, twin brothers from Portland, Oregon, said in a campaign statement that Santorum “is without question the best choice for evangelicals and social conservatives.”

WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T MISS:

* A new 30-second Gingrich ad is out in Iowa: “Winning the Argument,” which highlights the candidate’s debate skills. The spot is composed entirely of debate clips, starting with one in which the other candidates nod while Gingrich speaks. According to the Daily Caller, it’s part of a major buy in Iowa. The pro-Gingrich super PAC Winning Our Future is also on the air in Iowa, defending the candidate against “the Republican establishment.”

* Democratic party strategists say that former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) is seriously considering running for the seat being vacated by Sen. Ben Nelson (D). Kerrey himself said only that Nelson’s decision to retire is a “big loss for Nebraska.”

* California State Sen. Michael Rubio (D) has decided not to run for Congress, a blow to national Democrats who saw him as their top prospect for the new 21st district. In a statement, Rubio said he needs to focus on his newborn daughter, who has Down Syndrome.  Assemblyman David Valadao is running on the Republican side.

* New(t) Hampshire staffers for Gingrich put together a wacky, Christmas-themed YouTube video touting the former House speaker in rhyme, with dancing elves. Sample line: “Has a plan for the economy / Conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.” Comments, unsurprisingly, have been disabled.

THE FIX MIX:

What to do with that gingerbread.

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