Mitt Romney's campaign has deemed Rick Perry below Romney's "weight class" and thus undeserving of a good solid punch. "I wish Rick the best," Romney said last week, and "we'll see whose background and skill most fits the needs of the country at a critical time like this." But Romney seemed a little less cavalier Wednesday night, The New York TimesAshley Parker reports. When a reporter asked him about being overtaken by Perry in national polls, Romney interrupted, "Depending on which poll. But Rick is a very effective candidate, yes." And maybe Romney's trying to steal a bit of that Perry stumping magic, because he's suddenly moved rightward on global warming.

The Hill's Justin Sink observes that on Wednesday, Romney told voters in Manchester, New Hampshire:
"Do I think the world's getting hotter? Yeah, I don't know that but I think that it is... I don't know if it's mostly caused by humans. ... What I'm not willing to do is spend trillions of dollars on something I don't know the answer to."
But less than 12 weeks earlier -- and less than 75 miles away -- he told voters in Lebanon, New Hampshire:
"I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that. ... It's important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may be significant contributors."
Perry has taken a lot of criticism for suggesting that global warming is a hoax. But only 21 percent of Iowa Republicans believe climate change is real. Two-thirds do not.
 
Meanwhile, Perry has no problem throwing punches at Romney, The Hill's Michael O'Brien notes. On Laura Ingraham's radio show Thursday, he attacked Romney's record as governor of Massachusetts. "I think Mitt is finally recognizing that the Massachusetts healthcare plan he passed is a huge problem for him," Perry said. "It was not almost perfect."