The Note’s Must-Reads for Tuesday, January, 31, 2012

By Jacqueline Fernandez

Jan 31, 2012 2:58am

Compiled by ABC News’ Jacqueline Fernandez, Jayce Henderson, Amanda VanAllen and Carrie Halperin

GOP RACE
ABC News’ Arlette Saenz: “Gingrich Cites Days-Old Poll as New in Florida Speech” The majority of polls released in the lead up to the Florida primary have shown Mitt Romney increasing his lead over Newt Gingrich, but during his third stop of his fly-around Florida today, Gingrich cited a days-old poll that he said had come out just hours before his speech, as showing him tied in Florida with Romney. “Tomorrow is a really really big day, and let me just say, the polls are all over the place. We just got word of a brand new poll that came out about an hour ago that said we are now tied 35 percent,” Gingrich said, as some in the crowd started to chant, “Newt! Newt! Newt!” LINK

The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake: “GOP presidential race could grind on and on” No, it’s not just you: Presidential nominating contests are getting longer. Four years after a Democratic primary battle that lasted until June, the GOP presidential race looks as though it will grind on for weeks or months more, despite Mitt Romney’s clear lead and likely win in Florida’s primary on Tuesday. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Sara Murray and Louise Radnofsky: “Latest Race Ends on a Hostile Note” Presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich battled Monday over who had the best credentials to bring change to Washington, as both traded pointed jabs on the final day before Florida’s Republican primary. Mr. Romney appeared increasingly confident of a win in the state, and some polls showed him carrying a double-digit lead. “With a turnout like this I’m beginning to feel we might win tomorrow,” Mr. Romney said to a crowd of a few hundred at a campaign stop in Dunedin, Fla. LINK

USA Today’s Jackie Kucinich: “Romney slams Gingrich on Florida trail” Reciting the words to America The Beautiful has long been a part of his stump speech, but ending the final full day of campaigning here Monday former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney felt so good that he sang instead. Under the banner “Florida is Romney Country” draped across a picturesque yellow shop in The Villages, Romney led the large crowd in song. LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ Maeve Reston and Seema Mehta: “Romney and Gingrich stage final bitter blitz in Florida” Starting at dawn and pushing deep into the night, Mitt Romeny and Newt Gingrich  stormed Florida on Monday in a final blitz of sharply negative campaigning, trading accusations on the eve of the state’s crucial Republican presidential primary.Romney, who appears headed for victory, reprised attacks on Gingrich’s ethics and lucrative consulting work for the mortgage giant Freddie Mac. LINK

 The Washington Times’ Seth McLaughlin: “Gingrich lobbies for anti-Romney votes in Florida” The fate of Tuesday’s Florida primary may come down to the preferences of voters whose preferred candidates are no longer in the running. Last fall, state Republicans in a straw poll chose Georgia talk-show host Hermain Cain and Texas Gov. Rick Perry  as their favorites for the GOP’s presidential nomination. Both men are now out of the race and have endorsed Newt Gingrich, but the former speaker’s fortunes could depend on how many of those former supporters follow their lead. LINK 

The Hill’s Niall Stanage: “Embattled Gingrich goes populist in last-ditch, anti-establishment effort in Florida” An embattled Newt Gingrich, facing poll numbers predicting a sound defeat in the Florida primary Tuesday, is casting himself as an anti-establishment radical. His hope is that the effort will pay off in battles still to come, even if it does not save him in the Sunshine State. LINK

The New York Times’ Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny: “Buoyant Romney Speaks of Victory in Florida” Mitt Romney swept through a final day of campaigning here on Monday, energized by more polls showing him with a commanding lead in the Florida primary. He even allowed himself to break superstition and proclaim, “I’m beginning to feel we might win.” LINK

Politico’s Reid J. Epstein and Ginger Gibson: “Florida primary. Mitt Romney confident as vote nears” Mitt Romney finished his last day of campaigning ahead of the Florida primary feeling like he is going to win, leaving Newt Gingrich to try to chip away at what’s become a wide lead in the state for the former Massachusetts governor. That included a broadside against Romney’s approach to religion, which Gingrich told a crowd in Tampa is as disrespectful as President Barack Obama’s. LINK

RON PAUL
ABC News’ Jason Volack: “Ron Paul Heads to Nevada: Strategy Called ‘Odd’” While his GOP rivals duke it out in a bloody Florida primary on Tuesday, Ron Paul will continue stomping for votes in the caucus states that dominate the political calendar over the next week. Paul does well in caucus states, where superior organization and passionate supporters play to his strengths and could allow the Texas congressman to pick up more delegates than Gingrich and Santorum combined this week. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS
Mitt Romney Makes Ben Hur-like EntranceLINK
Romney Sings ‘America the Beautiful’LINK

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