Romney Gaffe Has GOP Rivals Scenting Blood

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MANCHESTER, New Hampshire -- Mitt Romney appears to be in cruise control Tuesday as he hopes a New Hampshire will bring a wider margin of victory than Iowa.
 
The former Massachusetts governor may look unbeatable to some, but he made headlines Monday when he declared, "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me."

He was referring to firing insurance companies that don't provide good service. But that didn't stop his opponents from going after Romney, who's already fighting back charges that the company he used to run fired people routinely.
 
"Gov. Romney enjoys firing people; I enjoy creating jobs," Jon Huntsman remarked.

"It may be that he's slightly out of touch with the economic reality playing out in America, and that's a dangerous place for someone to be," he cautioned.

Click play for more analysis and New Hampshire primary expectations from David Brody.
 
Huntsman is closing well in New Hampshire, as is Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who's libertarian message goes over smoothly in this live free or die state.
 
"We gain our liberties not from our government, but we gain that from our creator, and we should protect those liberties," Paul said.

"We shouldn't be telling people how to live, how to run the economy, or telling the rest of the world what they ought to be doing," he added.

Meanwhile, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum faces an uphill climb in this state with fewer evangelicals. 

That demographic difference convinced Texas Gov. Rick Perry to bypass the Granite State and hightail it to South Carolina.

"The other reason we came to South Carolina, these other states and these other primaries, they're winnowing down the candidates, South Carolina picks presidents," Perry said.

Sharks Begin Circling

With Romney holding a sizable lead in New Hampshire, the goal is not to beat him -- rather it's to slow him down with a death-by-a-thousand-paper-cuts strategy.

In other words, Romney's rivals are going to go after him in South Carolina, the next primary state, in a variety of ways.
 
For instance, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is preparing to change tactics and target Romney with a $3 million ad buy.  Expect stories of how Romney's firm, Bain Capital, destroyed lives by leaving companies in shambles while it profited.

Gingrich will also highlight how Romney's health care plan provided for taxpayer-funded abortions.
 
"I think one of my goals is to keep Romney from being in the position to rush the nomination," Gingrich explained.

"The longer this goes on, the more clear it is how un-conservative his record is, the more difficult it will be for Romney to survive in this race," he said.

Tea Party's Haley Stumps for Romney
 
Meanwhile, Romney is counting on help from Tea Party favorite, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
 
"What about the Tea Party supporters who don't trust Mitt Romney on these issues?" CBN News Sr. Political Correspondent David Brody asked Haley.
 
"I think he has to work hard and educate them on the issues," she replied.

"They will see that he knows the value of a dollar. He has worked in the private sector 25 years. He is not part of the chaos that's Washington, D.C.," she said.
 
While Romney may have a "big night" in New Hampshire, he is expected to have a "big fight" in South Carolina. 

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