Romney not taking any chances ahead of Fla. vote

By Kasie Hunt

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Jan. 30 2012 5:37 a.m. MST

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, trailing in Florida by a wide margin, skipped campaigning to be with his 3-year-old daughter, Bella, who was hospitalized. He planned to campaign in Missouri and Minnesota early this week.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who has invested little in Florida, looked ahead to Nevada. The libertarian-leaning Paul is focusing more on gathering delegates in caucus states, where it's less expensive to campaign. But securing the nomination only through caucus states is a hard task.

The intense effort by Romney to slow Gingrich is comparable to his strategy against Gingrich in the closing month before Iowa's leadoff caucuses Jan. 3. Gingrich led in Iowa polls, lifted by what were hailed as strong performances in televised debates. But his support dropped in the face of withering attacks by Romney, aided immensely by ads sponsored by a "super" political action committee run by former Romney aides.

But Romney aides say they made the mistake of assuming Gingrich could not rise again as he did in South Carolina. Romney appears determined not to let that happen again.

Romney has three events scheduled across the state Monday. He planned events in Jacksonville and the Tampa area. Gingrich has five planned events. 

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