POLITICS: Romney takes poke at Obama golf vacation

Meyer stepping down at Florida

Urban Meyer

WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is hammering President Barack Obama for playing golf and planning his usual family Christmas in Hawaii.

Romney says Obama should spend more time fixing the economy.

Some Democrats and Republicans call it a tired tactic. Former Republican White House aides say every president rightfully engages in weekend recreation and spends time away from Washington.

Romney told an Iowa audience that Obama's idea of a hands-on approach to the economy is getting a grip on his golf club.

Bachmann, Perry pull out of Trump debate

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump's debate roster dwindled to two on Thursday when two more GOP presidential candidates -- Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry -- said thanks but no thanks.

That leaves just Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum participating in the Dec. 27 affair in Des Moines, just one week before Iowa's first in the nation caucuses Jan. 3.

Perry's campaign said he plans to focus on traditional retail campaigning in the closing weeks. His campaign announced plans for a cross-Iowa bus tour starting next week that will include more than three dozen towns.

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Bachmann, who earlier had expressed reservations about Trump's impartiality, officially declined on Thursday. Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul had already demurred.

Conservative media group Newsmax announced last week that it had partnered with Ion Television to host the debate and chosen Trump as the moderator.

Huntsman goes after Romney and Gingrich

WASHINGTON -- Jon Huntsman says the leading Republican presidential candidates, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, are feeding a deficit of trust in politics.

Huntsman, the former Utah governor, is struggling in the polls. But he talked tough in a speech Thursday at the National Press Club.

Huntsman said Romney will say anything to win. And he suggested Gingrich is a Washington insider who benefited from his political connections.

He declines to talk about Gingrich's three marriages, but calls the former House speaker a "lobbyist in chief." Romney, he says, is a "panderer in chief."

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