Sarasota, Fla.

There was a surprise visit from Florida congressman Connie Mack IV at a Newt Gingrich rally this afternoon--surprising because Mack is supporting Gingrich rival Mitt Romney.

Mack, who is running for the U.S. Senate this year, said he and his father, former U.S. senator Connie Mack III, threw their support to Romney after Gingrich's "attacks on free enterprise" in the former House speaker's criticisms of Bain Capital.

"That was the crossing of the Rubicon," Mack said. "It was more than most Republicans can handle." He said Romney's record of success at Bain Capital is a point Republicans "ought to be celebrating."

Mack told me he came to the event to "see if Newt's going to talk more about his relationship with Freddie Mac and [to see] if he's got an explanation to all the people in the state of Florida who lost their homes. I think it's an important issue."

When he served in the House and later in the Senate, the elder Mack was a strong ally of Gingrich's. The younger Mack entered the House in 2005 and never served with Gingrich.

Soon after the younger Mack announced his intent to run for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate last year, the four-term congressman rocketed to the top of the GOP primary polls. He does not plan on launching the full campaign, he says, until after the presidential primary on January 31.

Next Page