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Gingrich angrily denies he sought open marriage

By Shannon McCaffrey

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Jan. 19 2012 7:26 p.m. MST

Earlier in the day, a Gingrich spokesman suggested, like Gingrich's daughters did a day earlier, that Marianne Gingrich's comments may be suspect given the emotional toll divorce takes on everyone involved.

"Divorces are very tough and people have very different recollections of how things happen," R.C. Hammond said.

Equally uncertain was whether Gingrich would get a boost from Perry's endorsement, given that the Texas governor had little support in the state, and get conservative voters to coalesce behind his candidacy. Complicating Gingrich's effort is another conservative, Rick Santorum, who threatens to siphon his support.

A CNN/Time South Carolina poll released Wednesday showed Gingrich in second place with support from 23 percent of likely primary voters, having gained 5 percentage points in the past two weeks. Romney led in the poll with 33 percent, but he had slipped some since the last survey. Santorum was third, narrowly ahead of Texas Rep. Ron Paul and well ahead of Perry.

Regardless of the South Carolina outcome, Gingrich was making plans to compete in Florida's primary on Jan. 31.

Confidence exuded from Gingrich, who rose in Iowa only to be knocked off course after sustaining $3 million in attack ads from an outside group that supports Romney. Gingrich posted dismal showings in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

By the time the race turned to South Carolina, he was back on course — and criticizing Romney as a social moderate who is timid about attacking the nation's economic troubles.

Associated Press writer Ray Henry in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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