PM Note: Newt and Romney Go At It

PHOTO: President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks at The Associated Press luncheon during the ASNE Convention on April 3, 2012, in Washington.

Newt and Mitt trade Barbs - Mitt: There's No Whining in Politics - Romney on Newt in Madison, NH, per Emily Friedman - "My own view is you take it to President Obama by describing his failures, not by saying things that people who voted for him in the past that we need to vote for us now, will find offensive," said Romney. Asked whether he agrees that negative advertisements can make a candidate seem "desperate," a characterization that has been made by Gingrich's campaign, Romney shot back: "There's no whining in politics." "We aren't running any negative ads at this point, but we may," Romney said. "This is, after all, politics. There is no whining in politics. You get in a political process and you fight hard and describe the differences between yourself and the other candidates. But at this stage all of our ads have been I believe positive."

Newt the Populist - Gingrich responded to the Romney bet with this line on Fox this morning, according to Elicia Dover:  "I love the way he and his consultants do those things. I would just say that if Governor Romney would like to give back all the money he's earned on bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years if being, then I would be glad to then listen to him, and I'll bet you $10, not $10,000 that he won't take the offer," Gingrich said.

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney talks to Bob Garon during a campaign stop at the Chez Vachon Restaurant, Dec. 12, 2011 in Manchester, N.H. - Jim Cole / AP Photo

Romney Confronted by Gay Veteran on Marriage - Read the full report from Emily Friedman, who was among reporters that talked to Bob Garon after his encounter with Romney. Why is it such a big deal to him? "Because I'm gay, all right?" he said. "And I happen to love a man just like you probably love your wife." Garon was sitting in a booth with his husband, whom he said he married in June. "I went and fought for my country and I think my spouse should be entitled to the same [benefits as they would] if I were married to a woman," he said. "What the hell is the difference?"

Romney Says Newt is the Frontrunner -  In an interview with Mike Allen at the same diner, Romney called Newt the frontrunner. And he said if Jeb Bush had run, he probably wouldn't have. More on that HERE.

Newt Affirms Support for "Marriage Pledge," Does Not Sign - From Michael Falcone and Russell Goldman: Newt Gingrich, who has married three times, promised personal fidelity going forward and provided a lengthy written response to an Iowa social conservative group's so-called "Marriage Vow." But he did not sign the pledge. "I also pledge to uphold the institution of marriage through personal fidelity to my spouse and respect for the marital bonds of others," Gingrich wrote in response to The Family Leader's request for him to sign the 14-point pledge." Huntsman, by the way, today challenged Romney to a debate too.

In a Gingrich-Huntsman Debate, Romney is the Loser: From Matt Negrin: It's no accident that Gingrich's counterpart in the forum is Huntsman, who has made the Granite State his campaign's top priority and who is the candidate closest to a Romney alternative. "The strategic decision that Gingrich is making is, he wants somebody to try to cut into Romney's support," said Andy Smith, the director of the Survey Center at the University of New Hampshire.

How is a Lincoln-Douglas debate different than other debates? - A time-keeper - not a moderator - sat next to the two and spoke only after a candidate had finished talking, and just to introduce the other. Gingrich said at the beginning that the debate would lend itself to unpredictability because "you don't have talking points, your consultants didn't figure it out, you didn't do focus groups, you're just talking from your own experience about the nature of the world."

Another Hit on Newt by Paul - Jason Volack reports the ad then ties Gingrich with the individual mandate clause in the Affordable Care Act, the health care overhaul pushed by President Obama, and adds: "Newt Gingrich has been on the both sides of a long list of issues." Then Gingrich's own words are used as he is seen bragging about earning $60,000 a speech.

Why Mitt's $10,000 Bet is Such a Big Deal? - Matt Jaffe on why we're still talking about the bet from Saturday night: "I'm not surprised that something like the $10,000 bet Romney offered Gov. Perry is overshadowing everything else in Saturday's debate," said Craig Robinson, who heads up "We are in the midst of an entire campaign where personality has, for the most part, trumped policy." Part of Romney's personality is that he does not have the type of blue-collar upbringing that so many politicians use to connect with voters. He grew up in Michigan, attended Brigham Young University, earned graduate degrees at Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School, and later made millions heading  the private equity firm Bain Capital. Romney himself makes no bones about his wealthy background.

Newt's Gay Sister Will Not Vote For Him : "I could not support the campaign of somebody who doesn't think I deserve the same rights as other people." As Devin Dwyer reports, Candace Gingrich-Jones says her relationship with her half-brother is "cordial."

Supreme Court will hear the Arizona immigration law - From Ariane de Vogue: Today's announcement means that by June the court will have decided three major controversial issues that could have an impact on the next election. Besides the immigration case, the Court will hear a challenge to the Obama administration's health care law as well as a dispute regarding Texas redistricting maps.

Martha Raddatz is on her 21st trip to Iraq: "Without question the most stunning part of today was to finally realize that the military is truly leaving. I did not see a single U.S. soldier. No convoys, no foot patrols. No one. All but a few bases of the more than 500 we once had are deserted. There was no one to call for a question or share a story. No one to call for help. The Iraqis are in charge now. And no one should fool themselves into believing that just because our troops are pulling out, that this war is entirely over."

U.S. Troops Leave Iraq: But Both Countries Have a Rocky Road Ahead - Here's our reporting from Huma Khan in Washington and Richard Coolidge on the ground in Iraq: Eight years and four tours of duty later, Army Sgt. First Class Larry D. Green Jr. left Iraq for the final time this week. "The joy is knowing this is a one-way trip," Green, 33, said. "It feels good to be out. … As we crossed the border I smiled to myself. I said, 'I made it through to the end.'" Nine years after a contentious, multibillion-dollar war, the United States is closing its bases in Iraq and bringing back combat troops. The U.S. withdrawal has caused rejoicing in both countries, even though the war is not over and the United States and Iraq face a new set of challenges as they work to figure out a way forward. "After nearly nine years, our war in Iraq ends this month. … A new day is upon us," President Obama said after his meeting today with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is in Washington, D.C. to discuss the two countries' future relationship.

Oh, and about that Drone. Can we have it back?

Matt Dowd on Tim Tebow and how to Quarterback the Country : I do think this Tebow boomlet is about faith.  And it's about confidence.  And leadership.  And humility - a humbleness born of strength and conviction.  It is about Tebow's faith in his own teammates.  It is about his faith and confidence in his own organization.  It is about him acknowledging his own weaknesses and failings and mistakes and understanding that if his team looks good, then he looks good. Obama, and so too the Republican candidates for president, can learn a lot from what is going on in the Mile High City.  Our economy, and this country, are struggling with huge deficits of confidence and faith.  We need a leader who can bring us together, exude confidence in us as a team, and lead us to where we need to go in the 21st century.  A leader who is willing to admit mistakes and approach politics not by pointing fingers or scoring points but by helping us all be better people.

The Cain Train Hits Barbara Walters - He's not running for president any more, but Herman Cain is one of Barbara Walters' Most Fascinating People of the Year - Cain's Pain: Cain tells Barbara Walters why he left the GOP race: "It was the vicious, unrelenting, character assassination, that finally caused too much pain to my wife, my family and me."

Iowa Countdown: 22 Days - ABC's Shush Walshe reports the weather has warmed up (barely) but the politics have cooled down. Rick Santorum was the only candidate in Iowa today.

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