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Politics Today: Newt Gingrich's Romneycare Flip-Flop, What's Next For The Occupy Movement?, And More

Tracy Bloom |
December 27, 2011 | 1:40 p.m. PST

Deputy Editor

Nelson To Retire: Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) will retire from the U.S. Senate when his term is up next year. In a video posted to YouTube on Tuesday titled, "What's Next," Nelson announced he would not seek reelection. Said Nelson: "it’s time to move on.”

Gingrich's Flip-Flop: Newt Gingrich was for GOP presidential rival Mitt Romney's Massachusetts health care plan before he was against it, according to an April 2006 memo that was recently discovered by The Wall Street Journal. "The health bill that Governor Romney signed into law this month has tremendous potential to effect major change in the American health system," Gingrich wrote. "We agree entirely with Governor Romney and Massachusetts legislators that our goal should be 100 percent insurance coverage for all Americans." More recently, Gingrich has criticized Romney's plan as being the "forerunner of Obamacare."

Romney Mocks Gingrich: Mitt Romney took aim at Newt Gingrich for not getting enough signatures and failing to qualify for the Virginia GOP ballot. "I think he compared that to...Pearl Harbor," Romney said during a campaign stop in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. "I think it's more like Lucille Ball at the chocolate factory. So, I mean, you know, you gotta get it organized."

Occupy's Next Move: They've already disrupted Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann on the campaign trail in Iowa, and now it appears activists within the Occupy Des Moines movement are figuring out which Republican White House hopeful to target next. According to the Associated Press, hundreds of Occupy activists from at least 10 states are planning to hold a "People's Caucus" near the Iowa Capito between now and the Iowa caucuses on January 3l. The Occupy activists have promised to interrupt candidates at campaign events in Iowa between now and when the caucuses are held.

Santorum May Drop Out After Iowa: Rick Santorum said Tuesday that he would drop out of the Republican presidential race if he finishes last in next week's Iowa caucuses. "If I finish dead last behind the pack I'm going to pack up and go home," Santorum told the Iowa radio station WHO, adding that he did not believe he would finish in last place. "I don't think that's going to happen. I think we're going to be very much in the mix and I feel very good that we're going to surprise a lot of people in how we finish."

Poll Watch: The latest Gallup Poll shows Mitt Romney regaining the national lead among GOP presidential hopefuls. Romney narrowly leads previous frontrunner Newt Gingrich, 25% to 24%. Ron Paul, the only other candidate polling in double digits, is at 11%.

Political Ad Watch: With exactly one week to go until the Iowa caucuses, candidates and political action committees are bombarding the airwaves with ads. First Read compiled a list of the ad-spending totals in the state, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry is tops, having spent $4.4 million on political ads. Rounding out the top 5: Restore Our Future PAC (pro-Romney) - $2.8 million, Ron Paul - $2.3 million, Make Us Great Again PAC (pro-Perry) $1.6 million, and Mitt Romney - $1.1 million.

Video Of The Day: Cooper Wagner, an adorable 8-month old, attempted to give Barack Obama a mouthful while the president was visiting troops at the Marine Corps Base at Kaneohe Bay in Hawaii. Take a look:

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