Gingrich Applauds Romney's Tax Decision; Santorum Declares Three-Man Race

Republican presidential hopefuls, former

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Republican presidential hopefuls, former senator Rick Santorum (L), former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (2nd-L), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (2nd-R) and Texas Rep. Ron Paul (R) participate in the CNN Southern Republican Leadership Conference Town Hall Debate in Charleston, South Carolina, January 19, 2012, in advance of this weekend's January 21, 2012 Republican presidential primary. AFP Photo/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

The morning after a stinging defeat in South Carolina, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said he would release his most recent tax returns this week, ahead of the Florida primary.

Romney said he would release his 2010 tax returns and an estimate of what he'll pay for 2011 on Tuesday. "We made a mistake in holding off as long as we did," he told Fox News Sunday.

His wealth, his record in running the private equity firm Bain Capital, and his tax bracket have increasingly become political issues for Romney, who has complained that Republicans are engaging in a Democratic line of attack. Romney has said he pays a tax rate of about 15 percent.

"If there are things in there that can be used against him, we better know before the nomination," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who won the South Carolina primary, said on NBC's Meet The Press, in supporting Romney's decision to release his taxes.

"Mitt Romney is no longer the inevitable," said former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, appearing Sunday on CNN's State of the Union. "It's not just about how much money you have."

Gingrich told CNN's Candy Crowley on the same program that he is the one Republican who could go "toe to toe with President Obama."

Santorum, who won the Iowa caucuses, finished fifth in the New Hampshire primary, and finished third in South Carolina, where he got 17 percent of the vote, declared a "three-person race" among him, Gingrich and Romney.

Lost in most of the discussion was Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who finished fourth in South Carolina with 13 percent of the vote, after a second-place showing in New Hampshire and third place finish in Iowa. Paul said Saturday night that he's staying in the race. "This is the beginning of a long, hard climb," he told supporters.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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