Mitt Romney Says He Will 'Probably' Release Taxes in April

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Though Romney may remain the frontrunner after tonight's debate, it was Gingrich who drew the debate's only standing ovation. The crowd tonight stood up and cheered the former speaker as he was answering a question about welfare.

Gingrich has taken some heat for suggesting that children in inner city schools should work as janitors to make money. Today he gave the example of his own daughter who, at age 13, worked as a janitor at her church.

The Fox News/Wall Street Journal debate tonight was the first time the Republican candidates took the podium together in South Carolina, where the economic problem is more pronounced than in any other early voting state. The unemployment rate is nearly 10 percent, above the national average of 8.5 percent.

For the Republican candidates, South Carolina is, in many ways, a bellwether of how other southern states will vote in their primaries and caucuses.

The winner in the Palmetto State's Republican primary has gone on to win his party's nomination since it became the "first in the South" GOP primary in 1980. Recognizing its significance, the candidates and their super PACs have spent more than $11 million on television ads in the state, buying up virtually every primetime spot.

Unlike Iowa and New Hampshire, South Carolina is a consistent red state. In the 2008 general election, Sen. John McCain won the Palmetto State, even as President Obama won in the other two.

"This is a red-base state that always votes Republican and if Romney can win a Republican base state, it's a tremendous accomplishment for him," Clemson University professor and author David Woodard said.

The former Massachusetts governor is riding high from a wave of back-to-back successes in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first for a Republican candidate since 1976. And some of his rivals' recent attacks have backfired on them.

Romney is also helped by Jon Huntsman, who ended his campaign this morning. Though Huntsman was unlikely to get many votes -- he was trailing comedian Stephen Colbert, who isn't even on the ballot -- even that handful of votes could give Romney an edge, should the results be close.

But the list of challenges facing the former governor is also long. Huntsman's endorsement could actually be more hurtful than helpful to Romney, who is struggling to sell his conservative credentials to South Carolina voters.

"Being branded or embraced by the moderate candidate in this race is probably not something he was looking forward to doing just a couple of days before the vote in South Carolina," ABC News political director Amy Walter said.

The powerful evangelical group has also yet to back him wholeheartedly.

Santorum, Gingrich and Perry are all counting on evangelicals in South Carolina to boost their candidacies. The ongoing issue is that the religious right has yet to coalesce behind one candidate.

Romney's campaign has been particularly aggressive when it comes to personal outreach. Woodard, a Republican, says he receives two to three calls and about three mailers a day, and that's just from the Romney camp alone.

Several other Republicans, he says, have received messages with personal greetings, which shows that Romney is going out of his way to court voters. The former governor has a difficult task ahead of him, because he is viewed by conservatives with skepticism and continues to be questioned about his views on abortion and health care.

"To win, he's got to create some enthusiasm in the base and he's just not conservative enough to incite the base," Woodard said. "But a victory here says, 'Hey, we got a candidate who can reach across the spectrum here.'"

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