Jan. 24 - Republicans Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich focus on Florida with a week to go before the state's primary. Deborah Gembara reports.
Republicans Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich focus on Florida with a week to go before the state's primary. Deborah Gembara reports. Things are heating up for Republicans in Florida. After staggering in South Carolina's primary, Republican front runner Mitt Romney is eager to regain his momentum while Newt Gingrich hopes to seize on his win over the weekend. For both men --- winning next week's Florida primary is critical. Bowing to pressure for more information about his fortune --- Mitt Romney released his tax returns which showed the former private equity executive paid a tax rate of 13.9 percent in 2010 --- significantly lower than the 35 percent paid by many Americans. Romney, who made $45.2 million in 2010 and 2011, is expected to pay 6.2 million dollars in taxes. The tax code and the fact that capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than paychecks --- is a sore point for many Americans ----one Romney's rivals are seizing on. In Florida on Tuesday, Romney tried to head off tax code criticism expected in President Obama's State of the Union. SOUNDBITE: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney saying: "Tonight, we're also going to get treated to more divisive rhetoric from a desperate campaigner-in-chief. It's shameful for a president to use the State of the Union to divide our nation, and someone ought to tell him: In order to put the economy back to work, everyone needs to be working. But more than anything, I expect the President will take this opportunity to take another victory lap. In big speeches, he tends to tell tall tales about an America that's thriving on his watch. In 2010, he announced that 'the worst of this economic storm has passed.' I know the people of Tampa don't believe that." That same day, Newt Gingrich noted his competitors considerable wealth in his appeal to Florida voters. SOUNDBITE: Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich saying: "Look, I need your help between now and next Tuesday. The fact is Governor Romney will have vastly more money than I will, but we'll have many more people than he will. This is exactly what happened in South Carolina, and people power beats money power every time. We can make a very simple case. As governor of Massachusetts he was pro-abortion, pro-gay rights, pro-tax increase and pro-gun control. Now, that makes him a moderate in Massachusetts, but it makes him pretty liberal in a Republican primary." Two new polls show Gingrich ahead by 8 to 9 percentage points with just a week to go before the Florida primary. Deborah Gembara, Reuters.