Gingrich plans ad to hit Romney on abortion

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Byron York

NASHUA, NH -- Newt Gingrich plans to open up what could be a bitter new front in his fight with Mitt Romney with an ad accusing Romney of allowing taxpayer dollars to fund abortion in Massachusetts.

The new ad will run in South Carolina "soon," according the Gingrich campaign.

The topic of abortion has emerged as a particularly contentious issue between the Gingrich and Romney campaigns.  Gingrich's accusation is that Romney's universal health care plan in Massachusetts explicitly provides for taxpayer funding of abortions.  Romney responds by arguing that a longstanding Massachusetts supreme court decision, which as governor he had no power to overturn, forced the state to provide abortion aid to poor women.  Romney did not support the policy, his campaign says.

Some Romney supporters have become angry at Gingrich's accusation, especially with two debates coming up this weekend in which much of the GOP field is expected to hit Romney hard. "I don't think Mr. Gingrich has the guts to say it to Gov. Romney's face," former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, who has endorsed Romney, said on Fox News Friday morning.  "He is wrong.  It is dishonest for him to say that…Mr. Gingrich has a little difficulty with the truth."

Asked to respond to Sununu's words, Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond said Gingrich will almost certainly discuss abortion face-to-face with Romney. "It doesn't take a lot of courage to tell the truth," Hammond said.  "It is a well documented fact that Mitt Romney advocated for liberal judges when he was governor of Massachusetts.  He supported reforms that led to taxpayer funded abortions."

Gingrich is investing heavily in South Carolina.  He is set to spend $250,000 for ads in South Carolina -- much of it to air Gingrich's "Timid" ad accusing Romney of having an inadequate economic plan.  But abortion will soon become part of the Gingrich air campaign.

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