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Romney readies tax returns to regain Republican lead

Sunday, January 22, 2012

(Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney pledged on Sunday to release his tax returns this week, bowing to pressure from critics and hoping to make up for a misstep that helped rival Newt Gingrich win South Carolina's primary race.

Long considered the frontrunner, Romney stumbled badly in debates last week on his delay in disclosing his tax returns and then lost his air of being the inevitable Republican nominee after a resurrected Gingrich soundly defeated him in the third contest.

Gingrich, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, pounced on Romney's surprising weakness and rode it to victory on Saturday, trouncing the former governor of Massachusetts by 40 percent to 28 percent in South Carolina.

Trying to regain his momentum as the race heads to the pivotal state of Florida, Romney sought to draw a line under the bad week and fix his error. He said he would release his 2010 returns and an estimate for 2011 on Tuesday.

"We made a mistake holding off as long as we did and it just was a distraction," Romney said on Fox News Sunday.

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