POLITICS: Gingrich to spend weekend in Washington

Newt Gingrich

WASHINGTON -- Just two weekends remain before the Iowa caucuses, and Newt Gingrich, the Republican leading in the presidential race there, is spending this one about 1,000 miles away in Washington, D.C.

Gingrich is among the only candidates in a crowded field to spend three full days away from voters less than 20 days before the first stop on the path to the GOP nomination.

His chief rival, Mitt Romney, will spend today in South Carolina, showcasing his latest high-profile endorsement, from Gov. Nikki Haley.

 

Romney criticized for remark about Medicaid

SIOUX CITY, Iowa -- Mitt Romney opened himself up to criticism Friday by saying he didn't understand Medicaid until he started working in government. The Republican presidential candidate later clarified the comment, but Democrats had already pounced, saying his words were further proof that the multimillionaire businessman is out of touch.

"You wonder what Medicaid is, those that aren't into all this government stuff. You know, I have to admit. I didn't know all the differences between these things before I got into government," Romney told voters at a campaign event. "Then I got into it and understood that Medicaid is the health care program for the poor, by and large."

Medicaid is a federal-state health care program for the poor and disabled.

Romney later clarified what he meant, telling reporters traveling with him that he understood the program but didn't quite grasp how it is funded. He called his earlier comment a "self-deprecating understatement."