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Newt Gingrich: Union Leader endorsement a big boost in New Hampshire

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"We don't have to agree with them on every issue," the newspaper wrote about Gingrich, some of whose positions (on immigration, for example) have rankled conservatives. "We would rather back someone with whom we may sometimes disagree than one who tells us what he thinks we want to hear."

Writes Maggie Haberman at Politico.com: “It's the most significant and impactful endorsement in the GOP race so far, and solidifies Gingrich's standing as the alternative to Romney as the race heads into the final pre-Iowa caucuses stretch.”

While the Union Leader’s endorsement shakes things up, Romney remains the clear front-runner in New Hampshire, a state where he owns a home and where he’s well-known because of his time as governor of neighboring Massachusetts.

The WMUR-University of New Hampshire Granite State poll last week showed Romney with 42 percent support among likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire. Gingrich came in second with 15 percent, followed by Rep. Ron Paul of Texas with 12 percent, and former Utah Gov. John Huntsman with 8 percent support.

Gingrich’s campaign nearly crashed and burned earlier this year when most of his staff quit in protest of what they saw as his lack of on-the-ground campaigning. And the former House Speaker’s effort has been dinged by reports of lucrative consulting work for mortgage giant Freddie Mac and the health care industry, his and his wife’s $500,000 line of credit at Tiffany’s, and continuing mention of his three marriages and acknowledged adultery.

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