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Axelrod: Gingrich Behind Atmosphere Where Opponents Are "Enemies"

AXELROD: Well, it's hard to read because, as you say, it's been a really volatile situation. I think the problem for Governor Romney, he's a steady Eddie, steady in everything except his positions. And that's what's made people in that party nervous and it's what's making Americans a little bit quizzical.

Even today he now has endorsed the president's idea of extending the payroll tax cut, but he opposed it -- he's to opposed it and been for it several times back and forth. And this has been a consistent story with Governor Romney, and it's created disquiet in his own base and among other voters who wonder exactly where he's going to be from day to day.

And so I think there has been a rotating group of non-Romneys as his support has begun to sink, really. He's now in third place in Iowa, well below where he was four years ago when he ran there. As for Speaker Gingrich, you know, he -- we'll see. Now becomes the difficult test for him because he hasn't really been scrutinized since the spring when he was sort of written off in this -- in this race.

The one thing I will tell you, though, is he's running an ad in Iowa starting today that talks about how he's going to bring the country together to solve problems. I don't think there's any single person in this country that did more to create the kind of discord in Washington that we see today than Newt Gingrich. He's really the godfather of gridlock. He was the one who really created an environment in which people started treating each other as enemies and not as opponents here in Washington. He was the one who shut the government down three times when he was trying to close the Department of Education and to defund the EPA and to cut Medicare in order to give tax cuts to the wealthy.

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