Mitt-mania! Romney ahead in South Carolina, ready to hit back on criticism of Bain

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The latest from the Mitt Romney Campaign:

A new Insider Advantage poll in South Carolina shows Mitt Romney with a small lead over his GOP rivals at 23%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 21%, Rick Santorum at 14%, Ron Paul at 13%, Jon Huntsman at 7% and Rick Perry at 5%.

Meanwhile, Romney has “a new plan for a multi-pronged response to the Republican rivals who’ve been bashing his private equity past. Campaign advisers are polishing new messaging, tailored to rebut Republican and Democratic attacks separately. They’re cueing up new commercials,” Politico reports.

“And they’re rolling out a more aggressive approach from the candidate himself, even as the candidates who’d been waging the Bain battle appeared to be retreating from the rhetoric on Wednesday.”

“The change comes following three days of stumbling responses from Romney and campaign aides, who admit they were caught unprepared for the explosion of Bain as the dominant topic of the Republican race — ‘out of nowhere,’ one adviser said. And it comes as Romney is aiming to turn his polling lead into a primary win — an early-state hat trick they hope will quickly establish him as the presumptive GOP nominee.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.