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Gingrich suggests Romney ‘clearly against the American ideal’

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Newt Gingrich goes on the attack, Romney was once a Democrat, Santorum didn’t qualify for the ballot in Indiana and Florida Democrats seem ready to go to court.

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WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:

* Former House speaker Newt Gingrich is now using some of his harshest language yet on former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, saying his Republican rival is “Obama-lite” and adding, “I think we want a candidate who represents Americans who work, pay taxes and believe in the Declaration of Independence, not somebody who is clearly against the American ideal.”

* Romney didn’t just vote for a Democrat — he was one. BuzzFeed reports that while Romney registered in 1976 as an “unenrolled” voter, in 1992 by voting for Democratic presidential candidate Paul Tsongas he was “essentially enrolled” in the Democratic party. “He switched back” to unenrolled after the election, an aide said.

* Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) paid his daughter $9,500 since December 2010 to sing at three campaign events. Ayla Brown is a former “American Idol” contestant and professional singer. Her father’s campaign said it would have been awkward for her bandmates to volunteer at a political event, but wouldn’t say how much money went directly to Ayla.

* Television star Roseanne Barr is running for president on the Green Party ticket, she announced via Twitter on Friday. A handful of celebrities have already endorsed her candidacy, but we’re going to go out on a limb and say that she is not going to be on the ballot this fall.

* Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is engaged to Thomas A. Daffron, a longtime Senate staffer who now works in consulting. The pair met in the 1970s, when they both worked for Sen. Bill Cohen (R), but only started dating recently.

WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T MISS:

* Taking a tougher tone, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum says in a new radio that Gingrich’s moon base idea is “fiscal insanity.” The ad is airing on national satellite radio.

* Final redistricting maps have passed the Florida House of Representatives. But Democrats are signaling that they will challenge the maps in court. “We have no doubt that the Florida courts will ultimately step in to protect the constitutional rights of every Floridian and throw out these maps,” said Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Scott Arceneaux in a statement.

* Santorum failed to qualify for the ballot in Indiana, falling 24 signatures short of the 500 required from each district. He is challenging the decision, saying redistricting changed the lines. But given that Indiana’s primary isn’t until May 8th, there’s a good chance it won’t matter.

* A redistricting settlement in Texas is close to collapsing, The Hill reports, meaning the state will likely have to push back its primary date again. Plantiffs who challenged the GOP-drawn map in court say Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) offered far less of a compromise than they expected.

THE FIX MIX:

Shine on, you crazy diamond.

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With Aaron Blake

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