SNEAK PEEK: 'Inevitably the Surge Kinda Deflates'

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24 Days Until the Iowa Caucuses

Monday's big news is that Mitt Romney is launching a "contrast" ad in Iowa on illegal immigration against surging rival Mike Huckabee.

The ad comes just a few hours after Huckabee launched an immigration ad of his own in Iowa, "Secure Borders," which calls for "no amnesty," building a border fence, and "doing it now." LINK

Romney, who only recently became an opponent of abortion rights, begins his ad by playing up his current similarities with Huckabee on the life and marriage issues.

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"Two former governors . . . two good family men . . . both pro-life . . . both support a constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage," says the ad's narrator.

The ad then argues that the real difference between Romney and Huckabee is on illegal immigration.

It specifically targets Huckabee for having supported in-state tuition benefits as well as taxpayer-funded scholarships for the children of illegal immigrants.

Watch it here. LINK

In an interview with ABC News' Charles Gibson, Romney compared the Huckabee "surge" to previous surges and expressed his hope that it would eventually deflate. LINK

"I have been through a couple of surges now," Romney told ABC News. "First was the McCain surge, then the Giuliani surge, and then the Fred Thompson surge, and now it's the Mike Huckabee surge."

"And in the past, what's happened is, when the surge occurs, people look more closely at the record of the vision of the person running . . . and inevitably the surge kinda deflates. I think you will see the same thing here; I sure hope so."

Romney, Huckabee, and the rest of the Republican field will get a chance to debate their differences on immigration Wednesday during the Des Moines Register's highly-anticipated debate.

Question: Will anyone pin down Rudy Giuliani on whether he would require illegal immigrants to return to their native country before gaining legal status in the United States?

Giuliani has sidestepped this question previously and he is alone among the top Republicans in not having endorsed or voted for this concept. When asked if Giuliani supports what is known as a touch-back provision, the former mayor's campaign aides simply say "he has not specifically addressed it." LINK

As for the Democrats, Hillary Clinton will be on the Left Coast Tuesday for a 3:30 pm ET "conversation" with billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

Earlier this year, during a Howard University debate, the former first lady invoked the Oracle of Omaha when she was asked about tax fairness.

"Middle class and working families are paying a much higher percentage of their income -- that was Warren Buffet's position," said Clinton, "that he pays about 17 percent, because don't forget it's the payroll tax plus the income tax. And when you cut off the contribution at $90,000, $95,000, that's a lot of money between $95,000 and the $46 million that Warren Buffet made last year. And he's honest enough to say, 'Look, tax me because I'm a patriotic American and I want to make sure our country stays strong and is fair.'"

"So, yes we have to change the tax system," Clinton said, "and we've got to get back to having those with the most contribute to this country."

Following the debate, Clinton's aides quickly moved to downplay the significance of her comments.

"It's not ruled in or out," Clinton strategist Mark Penn told ABC News. "She was just explaining the inequity that Warren Buffet was pointing out." LINK

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