TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Republican presidential contenders Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich clashed repeatedly in heated, personal terms Monday night in a crackling campaign debate, the former Massachusetts governor tagging his rival as a Washington “influence peddler,” only to be accused in turn of spreading falsehoods over many years in politics.

“ You’ve been walking around the state saying things that are untrue,” Gingrich told his rival in a twohour debate marked by occasional interruptions and finger pointing.

The event marked the first encounter among the four remaining GOP contenders — former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Texas Rep. Ron Paul shared the stage — since Gingrich won the South Carolina primary in an upset last weekend.

His double- digit victory reset the race to pick a rival to challenge Democratic President Barack Obama this fall, and the next contest is the Jan. 31 Florida primary.

With a week of campaigning ahead, Romney is expected to release his income tax return for 2010 as well as an estimate for 2011 today. He said it will show he paid all the taxes he was obligated to pay, adding, “I don’t think the voters want a president who pays more than he owes.”

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