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Romney predicts tea party will turn on Gingrich

By Kasie Hunt

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Dec. 17 2011 9:46 a.m. MST

In this file photo taken Nov. 22, 2011, Republican presidential candidates former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich talk with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at a Republican presidential debate in Washington.

Evan Vucci, file, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Mitt Romney is mocking Newt Gingrich's long record in Washington and says conservative tea party voters eventually will reject the former House speaker who's Romney chief presidential rival.

Romney tells reporters in South Carolina that he thinks the state's tea party voters will turn on Gingrich because of his work for the mortgage company Freddie Mac and his consulting time in Washington.

Romney, who's been endorsed by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, isn't sure whether the work Gingrich did after he left the House is considered lobbying. But Romney says that "when it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, typically it's a duck."

South Carolina holds its first-in-the-South primary Jan. 21. Gingrich leads Romney in South Carolina polls and has emphasized his tea party support.

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