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GOP primary now a contest of character

By BETH FOUHY
Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) - The Republican presidential contest has become a no-holds-barred contest over character.

Mitt Romney and Rick Perry have resorted to personal attacks in an effort to undermine each other's integrity and values. It's a new phase of the campaign that can be expected to last until the first voting contests in January.

Romney has identified Perry as the candidate to beat. The former Massachusetts governor has started a website featuring videos painting Perry as a dimwitted novice who coddles illegal immigrants and has a weak economic record.

The Texas governor is using web videos to cast Romney as a flip flopper on issues like health care and immigration.

Perry has gotten an assist from President Barack Obama's campaign and its allies, who are also criticizing Romney for shifting positions.

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