Rep. Connie Mack IV, a Republican from Florida and a Romney backer, told the same Romney rally that Gingrich has a "very checkered past when it comes to ethics and honesty" but Romney has lived his life "honestly, with integrity and character."
For his part, Gingrich said Romney was "carpet bombing" Florida with negative ads that distorted and falsified his record. He said conservatives would turn against Romney in the end as a "moderate from Massachusetts," who has in the past supported abortion rights and gun control, and choose Gingrich as a true conservative. Last night, Gingrich pledged to fight harder than ever in the contests ahead.
But the candidates' negativity caused some Republican leaders to wonder whether their enmities would hurt the eventual GOP nominee in the general election against President Obama.
The Democratic National Committee immediately ratcheted up its attacks on Romney, whom Democratic strategists have long considered the likely nominee. DNC chairwoman Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Romney would ruin Social Security and Medicare. DNC officials including Wasserman Schultz have begun calling the GOP candidate Mitt "Say Anything" Romney because they argue that he will say anything to get elected.