RICK PERRY GETS PERSONAL. Texas Gov. Rick Perry revealed a bit of his softer side yesterday, describing the most joyous moment in his life as his son’s birth, an ordeal that nearly claimed the life of both his wife, Anita, and his now 28-year-old son, Griffin, ABC’s Arlette Saenz notes. “‘Nita was in labor for 40 hours, and her dad’s a physician. She was the director of nurses at the hospital. We were living in the little town of Haskell [Texas], which was where she grew up, population of 3,500, 4,000, so she had a very difficult delivery,” Perry recounted in an hour-long radio interview in Iowa with WHO radio’s Simon Conway. “It was a weekend and the anesthesiologist couldn’t come, and her father literally said, ‘If we don’t get her out of here to Abilene, I’m afraid we’re going to lose the baby and her.’ So not words you want to hear as you’re, you know, the woman you love and your first born is being there.” http://abcn.ws/umyuam
RICK SANTORUM NABS BIG IOWA ENDORSEMENT. ABC’s Shushannah Walshe files this dispatch from Johnston, Iowa: Rick Santorum got his biggest endorsement yet at a small hotel here: Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz. Calling it the “best day of the campaign,” he said he is “committed to Iowa” and the campaign is beginning to “pick up that critical momentum,” despite his low poll numbers. “People have asked me, ‘Why haven’t you started to catch on?’ And I say, ‘Well you haven’t been in Iowa for the last week or so because we are definitely picking up momentum in the state of Iowa and across this country.’ We feel it coming,” Santorum told a crowd of more than 50 people at the Stoney Creek Inn here. During the previous election cycle, Schultz endorsed Mitt Romney, a fellow Mormon, and Santorum said the endorsement was “a great reaffirmation of the work we’ve done.” http://abcn.ws/sxG39B
@jaketapper: Met a few Iowa voters — conservative Republicans — who don’t like Perry’s TV ads. They want to hear about jobs, not gays and skl prayer.
@JimPethokoukis: So is Romney in the Pawlenty position where if he doesn’t follow thru on Newt attacks, it looks weak?
–Newt GINGRICH attends a Veterans Presidential Candidate Forum at the Varsity Theater in Des Moines and later heads to the grand opening of his Iowa Campaign Office. A book signing with Callista will follow.
–Ann and Josh ROMNEY, Tim and Mary Pawlenty hold Iowa grassroots rally at Romney for President Headquarters in Des Moines.
–Rick PERRY takes a jog through Des Moines this morning and attends a Veterans Presidential Candidate Forum at the Varsity Theater in Des Moines later today.