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Romney Campaign Dumps On Gingrich

This is what going negative looks like.

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CHARLESTON, South Carolina—Mitt Romney's presidential campaign unloaded on former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich in a conference call with reporters today — dredging up decades-old issues to attack his character.

Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, a top Romney surrogate, called on Gingrich to release a House Ethics Committee report that sanctioned him when he was Speaker in the mid-1990s.

Sununu said Gingrich must "wring out the laundry now" and release his ethics violations record to avoid an "October surprise."

"If Pelosi knows, then Obama knows," Sununu warned.

He was joined by Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who reminded reporters of the "back of Air Force One" incident, when Gingrich complained that President Bill Clinton wouldn't allow him to exit Air Force One through the front door, usually reserved for the President.

"There were just a series of incidents where Newt kept going to the edge, going to the line, going over the line," he said. "He always made it about him."

Sununu also tried to deflate Gingrich's argument that he is a better debater than Romney, saying "We don’t need a candidate whose greatest talent is making good quips from the podium."

The attacks follow a day after Romney lobbed a view barbs of his own in Gingrich's direction, saying his job-creation claims were like Al Gore claiming credit for the Internet. They also come after new polls show Gingrich within single digits of Romney in South Carolina — and tightening the gap.