The OutFront Brief: Onward to Florida
January 23rd, 2012
03:52 PM ET

The OutFront Brief: Onward to Florida

Freshly returned from South Carolina, Erin and the OutFront show team dig in tonight to the next stop on the campaign trail: Florida. Yes, Florida, which remains the butt of election jokes nationwide for the "hanging chad" debacle that was the 2000 presidential election re-count.

This year, Iowa–with its no wait, on second thought how about Rick Santorum result in the caucuses–may help Florida escape some of the jokes and allow the campaign to get down to business. Dirty, expensive business. As Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute tells the Miami Herald, "Money matters a lot more than in any of the earlier states because you can't knock on enough doors and spend enough time in living rooms," he said. "This is a mega-state; commercials are expensive and the only way to communicate."

Already, with Mitt Romney reeling from his loss in South Carolina–and rival Newt Gingrich riding a wave of positive poll results–the bruising GOP campaign has turned brutal. Romney on Monday began attacking Gingrich as a Washington insider and lobbyist:

As you look at the speaker's record over time it has been highly erratic," Romney said. "He voted in favor of establishing the Department of Education, and yet he gets in a debate and says we should get rid of the Department of Education and send all the education issues back to the states. He is opposed vehemently to the Massachusetts health care system, and yet just a couple of years ago wrote about what a superb system it was.

Tonight on Erin Burnett OutFront, we'll sort fact from fiction on the lobbying charge. And we'll look at the fight ahead in Florida with Jose Mallea, Gingrich's Florida campaign manager, Jamal Simmons, John Avlon and Reihan Salam. Join us 7pET on CNN.

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