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Newt Gingrich Followed By Mitt Romney-Backing Lawmakers In Florida

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Newt Gingrich's veterans event at the University of North Florida on Thursday was filled with the usual crowd: a man with a video camera trying to "ambush" the news media and hold them accountable; a woman wearing a snazzy red, white and blue hat; and scores of supporters in polo shirts ready to vote for the former House Speaker in Tuesday's election.

There were, however, three unexpected guests: Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) and Connie Mack (R-Fla.). All three are backing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Mack said he has also gone to Gingrich events in Sarasota, Fort Myers, Naples, Coral Springs and Miami, where he attended two of them.

"[I'm] waiting to hear him answer the question about Freddie Mac," said Mack, referring to Gingrich's work advising the mortgage giant. "He gets the question at a number of the rallies, and he belittles the people who ask the question. I just think that's poor form, and he should be honest about it."

Both Mack and Bono Mack called Gingrich "erratic," while Chaffetz used the word "nuts." Their comments echo a new Romney campaign mailer that questions Gingrich's mental stability, calling him "unethical," "erratic" and "reckless."

The three lawmakers quietly stood in the back during the event, occasionally chatting with members of the media and members of the public who happened to recognize them.

But at an event Thursday morning in Mount Dora, Fla. Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond confronted Chaffetz.

Chaffetz told The Huffington Post that Hammond came up to him with an audio recorder and started bombarding him with questions about whether he supported Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

"I am a citizen with questions. He is a congressman without answers," Hammond told The Huffington Post later in the day.

Chaffetz said he will probably follow Gingrich around more in the coming days, and he doesn't think it should be a problem since he isn't disrupting the events.

"I'm standing in the back, wearing a tie and a suit -- in Florida no less!" he said.

The veterans event in Jacksonville was Bono Mack's first Gingrich stop. She said she was there to simply show her support for Romney.

"I served with Newt," she said, referring to his time in Congress. "I recognize his ability to think and think he would make a great leader of a think tank. But I question his ability to be as effective a leader as Mitt Romney would be."

Gingrich may be getting more congressional help in the coming days. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), a Gingrich backer, said he planned to meet with members of Congress this week who want to come out and publicly state their support for the former speaker.

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