Gingrich a Target in Final Iowa GOP Debate

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The Republican candidates will face off Thursday night in the last debate before the Iowa caucuses scheduled for Jan. 3.

Now, it seems all the GOP hopefuls have at least one thing in common -- slinging mud in the direction of new frontrunner Newt Gingrich.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney began a new "Gingrich is zany" theme during are recent New York Times interview, in an effort to break Gingrich's momentum.

"Zany is not what we need in a president," Romney told the New York Times. "Zany is great in a campaign. But in terms of a president, we need a leader."

Debate watchers will likely be looking to see if Gingrich will fire back at Romney during Thursday night's Sioux City debate.

Click play for Dale Hurd's report followed by a debate preview with CBN News Chief Political Correspondent David Brody.

Appearing on talk radio's "The Sean Hannity Show," Gingrich said he needs to keep his campaign focused.

"For a day or two, Romney and his consultants were successfully baiting me in exactly the wrong direction," he said.

Gingrich has released a new campaign television commercial, trying to keep his message positive.

The former House speaker may be taking the high road, but he's being hammered on the Iowa airwaves by Ron Paul and from outside groups that support Romney.

Interest groups have spent $3.1 million in a negative ad campaign blitz against Gingrich.

The Romney campaign also released a web video Thursday using Gingrich's own words to make its case.

"Gov. Romney in his business career created more jobs than the entire Obama cabinet combined, so he could actually talk about it," a narrator in the video said.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum have all stepped up their criticism of Gingrich.

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Dale Hurd

Dale Hurd

CBN News Sr. Reporter

A CBN News veteran, Dale Hurd has reported extensively from Western Europe, as well as China, Russia, and Central and South America.  Since 9/11, Dale has reported in depth on various aspects of the global war on terror in the United States and Europe.  Follow Dale on Twitter @HurdontheWeb and "like" him at Facebook.com/DaleHurdNews.