Ahead of the make or break Florida Republican primary on Tuesday, Mitt Romney appears to be surging ahead in opinion polls against his nearest rival Newt Gingrich, as the two top presidential hopefuls intensified their war of words.
A win at Florida would all but lock up the Republican presidential nomination in Romney's favour and yet still former House of Representatives Speaker Gingrich has threatened to make it a fight all the way to the republican final convention in August.
Romney, who many believe would ultimately bag Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Barack Obama in the November presidential elections, is leading by 15 points according to a latest NBC/Marxist poll against Gingrich.
In other polls too Romney, former Massachusetts governor, is leading by double digit margin.
But bitterly enriched from its experience in South Florida, where Romney lost to former House of Representatives Speaker Gingrich after an initially double digit lead, his campaign is leaving nothing to chance.
The Romney campaign which is not short of money has launched an onslaught of negative advertisement campaign against Gingrich in Florida, pumping in millions of dollars this week. In fact, Romney himself is leading the frontal attack against Gingrich, reflected in his campaign speeches in Florida on Sunday.
"Your (Gingrich) problem in Florida is that you worked for Freddie Mac at a time that Freddie Mac was not doing the right thing for the American people, and that you are selling influence in Washington at a time when we needed people to stand up for the truth in Washington," Romney said in one of his campaign speeches in Naples, Florida.
But Gingrich, who has been in politics for more than four decades, even though short of money, is not giving up.
In fact, according to The New York Times, Gingrich election rally on Sunday was attended by thousands.
"The rally's attendance notwithstanding, it appeared that Romney and his campaign -- which have been pummelling Gingrich at every turn and vastly outspending him on television ads -- had reversed whatever momentum Gingrich had when he arrived here fresh off his South Carolina primary victory a week earlier," the NYT said.
Gingrich, who is projecting himself as a Republican who can defeat Obama, on Sunday accused Romney of being dishonest.
"He can buy enough ads and say enough false things to have a substantial minority. There's no proof that he can convince a majority to trust a person of that background," Gingrich said.
In less than a few hours, the Romney campaign lined up the New Jersey Governor, and several other Republican leaders to take on Gingrich's criticism of Romney.
According to The Washington Post, as the Republican establishment mounts attacks denouncing him as too erratic to be president, Gingrich has seemed only more energised.
"Despite slipping in Florida's polls, he has vowed a wild and woolly primary battle that will end with his victory," the daily wrote.
"And on Sunday, he and Mitt Romney traded their harshest attacks yet, with Romney telling Gingrich to 'look in the mirror' if he wants to understand his slide in the polls, and Gingrich slugging back, calling Romney a 'pro-abortion, pro-gun-control, pro-tax-increase moderate'," The Post said.
Click HERE for realtime news updates...