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Gingrich to Romney: Take a stand on tax issue

By Charles Babington
Associated Press / December 22, 2011
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RICHMOND, Va.—Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says Mitt Romney isn't showing leadership or courage by refusing to detail his position on a payroll tax issue roiling Congress.

Gingrich told reporters in Virginia that presidential candidates must be prepared to talk about hot issues.

The former House speaker has gone into greater detail than Romney in discussing the tax matter. Gingrich sharply criticized a proposed two-month extension of a temporary cut in payroll taxes passed by the Senate. House Republicans want a one-year extension. President Barack Obama and the Senate have embraced the idea as the only workable compromise for now.

Gingrich said there is "a timidity of calculation" on the part of candidates, such as Romney, who listen too much to advisers.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is blasting President Barack Obama during a side trip to Virginia.

Gingrich left Iowa and New Hampshire to work toward the 10,000 voter signatures he needs to qualify for Virginia's March 6 ballot.

The former House speaker told a breakfast gathering Thursday in Richmond that everything Obama believes "kills jobs." He also said the president "has a European radical attitude toward class warfare."

Gingrich went comparatively easy on his GOP rivals. But he said Mitt Romney will be hurt in New Hampshire by his record of requiring people to obtain health insurance when he was Massachusetts governor.

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