Bruised from a bad loss in the South Carolina primary, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney seeks to regain footing on Monday...courting voters at a roundtable in Tampa, Florida....and going on the offensive against Newt Gingrich.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MITT ROMNEY SAYING:
"He's opposed vehemently to the Massachusetts health care system, and yet just a couple years ago wrote about what a superb system it was. He's gone from pillar to post almost like a pinball machine, from item to item in a way which is highly erratic."
The former Massachusetts governor took heat from Gingrich in South Carolina over whether he would release his personal tax records. He's agreed to release two years' worth on Tuesday.
Now Romney says the former House Speaker should return the $1.6 million he made working for Freddie Mac...the troubled mortgage giant many Republicans blame for the recession.
Hours before the candidates meet for another debate, Gingrich called Romney's attacks "desperate."
(SOUNDBITE) (English) REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE NEWT GINGRICH SAYING:
"I've been told by a variety of people that Governor Romney has been saying unkind things. I'd prefer personally not to believe it, but on the other hand, if you've been campaigning for six years and you begin to see it slip away, you get desperate. And when you get desperate, you say almost anything."
New opinion polls show Gingrich has jumped into the lead in Florida. The Sunshine state primary election will be held on January 31.
Katharine Jackson, Reuters.