Inside Politics

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Rep. Ron Paul’s libertarian message of less government and personal liberty is clicking with young people. And it’s young people who are supplying oomph for the Texas congressman’s stronger-than-expected presidential campaign. Nearly half of all voters younger than 30 went for Mr. Paul in New Hampshire and Iowa, the first two states to vote.

Mr. Paul’s campaign events are charged with an energy that any politician would love, attracting youthful activists ranging from preppy college students to blue collar workers and artists. Their lopsided support has made Paul a force to be reckoned with in the 2012 campaign.

SOUTH CAROLINA

TV already awash in GOP attack ads

COLUMBIA — GOP presidential candidates and their deep-pocketed allies are teeing up millions of dollars in ads, many in attack fashion, ahead of the pivotal South Carolina primary.

Newt Gingrich is hitting Mitt Romney over abortion. A group backing Mr. Romney is ridiculing Mr. Gingrich’s judgment by showing footage of him with Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi. And Ron Paul is tagging Rick Santorum as a “serial hypocrite” with “a record of betrayal.”

In a state known for brutal campaign tactics, the savaging has only just begun.

Mr. Romney’s wins in the first two contests set up a now-or-never situation for opponents desperate to deny him the presidential nomination.

South Carolina voters weigh in Jan. 21.

SENATE

McCain raps high court’s campaign finance ruling

Sen. John McCain says the Supreme Court ruling that led to formation of super PACs was “one of the worst decisions I have ever seen.”

Mr. McCain, whose name has been synonymous with the push for campaign finance reform, also says, “I predict to you that there will be huge scandals associated with this huge flood of money.”

Mr. McCain was referring to Citizens United, the court’s 2010 ruling against limits on spending by independent organizations. The justices based their decision on freedom of speech principles.

A super PAC supporting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney ran negative ads against former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in Iowa. Mr. Gingrich says the spots substantially harmed his campaign. And Mr. Gingrich now is benefiting from similar spending by a group running anti-Romney ads in South Carolina.

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