While Republican voters shift their political inclinations from one presidential candidate to another, as they peruse political records, judge personal character, and appraise other qualities they find meaningful in a potential U.S. President, one distinct issue many voters seem to overlook is the degree of power and influence that crony capitalism has played in some of these candidates' professional lives.

Mitt Romney, once seen as the all-but-prohibitive favorite for the Republican presidential nomination, has personally gone on the offensive against rival candidate Newt Gingrich, who now leads Romney in some polls and has been gaining on him in others. In an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday, Romney called the former Speaker of the House "zany" and accused him of attacking free enterprise.

Leon PanettaIt was a ceremony to mark the official end of the American military occupation of Iraq. But Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (left) sounded more like the United States was moving  in to stay when he spoke Wednesday in what the New York Times described as a heavily fortified courtyard at Baghdad Airport with helicopters hovering above.

In April, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether Arizona has the right to act against illegal immigration if the federal government will not.

Ron PaulWith a Public Policy Polling survey showing him just one point behind frontrunner Newt Gingrich in Iowa and a Rasmussen poll placing him just four points behind Gingrich for second place in Iowa, Ron Paul arrived at a campaign stop in Manchester, New Hampshire., Wednesday afternoon with plenty to be cheerful about.

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