A newly aggressive Mitt Romney charged in a campaign debate tonight that Newt Gingrich "resigned in disgrace" from Congress after four years as speaker and then spent the next 15 years "working as an influence peddler" in Washington.
Gingrich shot back that Romney's attacks were riddled with falsehoods, and he referred to statements by two men who ran against Romney in 2008 in contending the former Massachusetts governor "can't tell the truth."
The clash occurred in the opening moments of the first of this week's two debates before the Jan. 31 Florida primary.
Gingrich trounced Romney in last Saturday's South Carolina contest, an upset that reset the race to pick a rival to President Barack Obama in the fall.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Texas Rep. Ron Paul shared the debate stage.
Eugene Robinson, msnbc Analyst and Associate Editor and Pulitzer Prize winning Columnist for the Washington Post
Richard Wolffe, msnbc Political Analyst
Rick Tyler, Senior Advisor to Winning Our Future, a Pro Newt Gingrich Super PAC
Rod Smith, Florida Democratic Party Chairman
Jimmy Williams, Former Democratic Senate Staffer and msnbc Contributor
Krystal Ball, Democratic Strategist and Former Candidate for U.S. Congress
Joy-Ann Reid, Managing Editor of TheGrio.com, msnbc Contributor
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