Fighting to protect his lead in South Carolina, Mitt Romney's campaign hit back hard Wednesday at chief rival Newt Gingrich, accusing him of "leadership by chaos" that cost the Republican Party once and would again.
In a departure from his usual practice of ignoring GOP rivals and engaging President Barack Obama instead, Romney ridiculed Gingrich for taking credit for millions of jobs created when he served in Congress.
"Congressmen taking responsibility or taking credit for helping create jobs is like (former Vice President) Al Gore taking credit for the Internet," Romney told supporters at Wofford College in Spartanburg.
Gingrich, sensing a tide turning his way just days before the pivotal first-in-the South primary Saturday, warned voters to be on guard against smears from a suddenly worried Romney.
"I fully expect the Romney campaign to be unendingly dirty and dishonest for the next four days because they are desperate," he told hundreds of cheering supporters at Bobby's BBQ in Warrensville. "They thought they could buy this. They're discovering they can't buy this."
Gingrich's ex-wife on 'Nightline' tonight
NEW YORK -- ABC News plans to air an interview with the second wife of Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich on its program "Nightline" at 11:35 tonight, just two days before the GOP's South Carolina primary.
An ABC News spokesman, Jeffrey Schneider, said Wednesday that excerpts from the interview with Marianne Gingrich will be released during the day today.
Those excerpts are expected ahead of a Republican candidate debate tonight in North Charleston and "Nightline," ABC's late-night news program.
ABC hasn't indicated what Marianne Gingrich said in the interview. Her ex-husband has said that they no longer have a relationship.
More wealth questions facing Romney
Mitt Romney's campaign was confronted with new questions about his finances Wednesday when ABC News reported that Romney has millions of dollars of personal wealth in investment funds set up in the Cayman Islands, known as a tax haven for Americans.
The report said that Romney had the ability to pay a lower tax rate by investing in funds located offshore.
A spokeswoman for Romney's campaign confirmed that the Romneys have money in the Caymans. But the campaign did not say why. Spokeswoman Andrea Saul also said: "ABC is flat wrong. The Romneys' investments in funds established in the Cayman Islands are taxed in the very same way they would be if those funds were established in the United States. These are not tax havens and it is false to say so."
Gingrich taxed at 31 percent rate
Newt Gingrich says he paid 31 percent of his income in taxes for 2010, more than double the 15 percent that Mitt Romney says he paid.
The former House speaker told reporters Wednesday in Winnsboro that he is not criticizing Romney for paying a tax rate below what most Americans pay. Gingrich said, "My goal is not to raise Mitt Romney's taxes, but to let everyone pay Romney's rate."
A Gingrich spokesman said the 31 percent was the effective federal rate on income.
Tonight's debate not open to walk-in public
The Southern Republican Leadership Conference/CNN Presidential Town Hall debate tonight at the North Charleston Coliseum is not open to the general or walk-in public.
Seating is by invitation only, from either one of the two groups. About 2,500 people will be seated for the event, based on the configuration for the nationally televised broadcast.