Figure on Romney in Tampa today to bash Obama, not Gingrich

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Speaking in today's Wall Street Journal, Ed Rollins, a longtime GOP strategist who was involved with Michelle Bachmann's campaign earlier this year, says that Gingrich is the first of Romney's many rivals this year who has the "credibility" to snag the nomination away from Romney.

"The bottom line is, Romney's looking at the polling. He sees he has a serious candidate in Gingrich, and he's seeing erosion starting to happen, said Mr. Rollins, who is now unaffiliated. "He has to respond in some shape or form."

Yesterday Romney surrogates were tasked with hosting conference calls in a variety of battleground states to combat a new DNC ad that accuses the candidate of being a serial flip-flopper. Such charges continue to have resonance since there are too many examples to ignore.

Although Romney surrogates like Tim Pawlenty say the Democrats' obsession with Romney currently shows that they fear him the most in a general election (undoubtedly true), the Dems say their campaign of attacking Mitt early is working. They cite a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll that shows that 30 percent of voters feel somewhat or very negative about him. A year ago, they say that same question in that same survey showed just 20 percent felt that way.

Willard "Mitt" Romney returns to Tampa today, the home of his Florida headquarters for the GOP nomination for President.

The former Massachusetts governor will speak before a private audience at 5:30 p.m. at the Tampa Museum of Art, which is just a couple of football fields away from the site of Occupy Tampa. The OWS crowd has seized upon Romney's comments over the summer that "corporations are people" as one of their signature talking points when decrying what they call the 1 percent that control the wealth in this country.

Before Romney's private appearance at TMA, he'll speak before a group of regular folks at the Tampa Port Authority, where he is scheduled to speak about trade. No doubt that speech will include some zingers directed toward President Obama, as has been his focus almost exclusively during his second run for the nomination in 2011.

But as Newt Gingrich continues his rise in the polls, the question that has to be asked is, how long will Romney ignore the former House Speaker's ascent?

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