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In a battle of “hot or not,” a young Mitt Romney would beat out his Republican rivals, according to The Atlantic Wire.

After collecting photos of all the Republican presidential hopefuls in their younger days, writers for The Atlantic Wire turned to HotOrNot.com to see who would win in a battle of looks. Young photos of each candidate were registered using unique email addresses, posted with comments like “this is my fav yearbook pic lol” and non-Washington hometowns.

Romney came in first place with 313 votes and a “hotness” score of 8.7. Rick Perry came in second with 8.4, and Jon Huntsman rounded out the top three with a 7.8. (The rest of the results can be found here.)

Presidential candidates’ looks play a big role in elections and are often scrutinized.

Barack Obama was even criticized for his well-worn, baggy “mom jeans.” That comment led Obama to call himself “frumpy.”

Romney has received criticism from one GOP rival in recent days for looking not hot, but desperate. The AP reports:

Newt Gingrich‘s campaign hit back at GOP rival Mitt Romney, saying attacks by the former Massachusetts governor’s campaign seem desperate.

“It looks like a panic attack,” Iowa state Rep. Linda Upmeyer, a Gingrich campaign surrogate, said Friday in an interview with The Associated Press.

Gingrich‘s campaign was holding a conference call later Friday to respond to attacks from Romney’s campaign and his allies. On Thursday, Romney surrogates assailed the former House speaker as irrational and unfit to lead, and Romney allies started airing a TV attack ad against Gingrich in Iowa. It’s part of a $3.1 million campaign by Romney supporters.

“That’s as much as the Superbowl,” Upmeyer told the AP. She said Gingrich offers positive solutions and a positive message and that the negative ads won’t resonate with caucus goers in early-voting Iowa.

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