The state health law former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney oversaw in his state is the flashpoint.
Boston Globe: Tone Turns Hostile Early for Republican Rivals
The GOP presidential hopefuls all pay homage to Ronald Reagan, but his so-called 11th commandment of politics — Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican — is being regularly and energetically violated by the two Republican front-runners. On a near-daily basis, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney are using Twitter accounts, press releases, and even, in one case, the other candidate's audiobook, to charge each other with a variety of wrongs — from devious motives to telling untruths. ... Perry has criticized Romney for having policies nearly identical to Democrats and for passing a health care plan in Massachusetts that "paved the way for Obamacare" (Viser, 10/3).
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Perry Makes First Visit To Georgia, Targets Obama And Romney
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, in his first appearance in Georgia as a presidential candidate, said Friday that the country needs to end the Obama administration's "onslaught of regulation," but he warned that his main opponent for the GOP nomination would be no better. … "As Republican voters decide who is going to be best suited for this country and take it in a new direction by stopping the spending spree and the scrapping of 'Obamacare,' I’m confident we're going to choose a nominee that governed with conservative principles," Perry said. "Not one whose health care policies paved the way for 'Obamacare'" (Gould Sheinin, 9/30).
The Associated Press: Early State GOP Voters Seek Signs of Electability
Republican voters in early presidential voting states like Iowa are increasingly looking past imperfections in a candidate's conservative record in exchange for someone who appeals to the broader electorate — and might have a better chance of beating President Barack Obama. ... Romney, who led in national GOP polls until Perry got in the race in August, is arguing that he's the strongest candidate to beat Obama because of his business background. He's hoping Republicans latch onto that message and put aside their doubts about his authenticity, reversals on some cultural issues, anger over the health care law he signed in Massachusetts that mandated coverage and skepticism about his Mormon faith (Beaumont, 10/1).
Des Moines Register: Santorum 'Scores Points' in Southern Iowa
Presidential candidate Rick Santorum breezed into three southern Iowa towns on Saturday afternoon, chatting up potential voters and checking another few counties off his to-visit list. ... At his final stop in Chariton, he added to that pledge by calling for the repeal of the federal health care law approved by Congress in 2010. The law will make Americans dependent on government for their lives, he argued, thereby undermining the principles on which the country was founded (Noble, 10/1).