February 8th, 2012

Attacking the attack ads

Commenter “T” writes:

Because Newt can be seen as cranky, his attack ads seem more in keeping with his persona. That doesn’t make them right, or even effective, just more consistent. because of that consistency, IMO they can also be more readily dismissed by the viewer.

Mitt, OTH, has tried to position himself as an exectuive, a CEO, the country’s potential CEO. When his campaign unleashed their onslaught of ads against Gingrich (both in IA and FL), they struck me as totally out-of-character to this persona. As a result, I’m more disappointed in Romney at the moment than Gingrich…

So my question is: Given this result from such venomous ads how can Romney’s campaign believe they’re running an effective campaign, especially now, in light of yet another non-Romney resurgence?

Commenter “Lisa” responds:

I have to say I am so tired of hearing about Romney’s “venomous ads.” I live in a state (Utah) where all I have been hearing for months are the anti-Romney ads. They aren’t kind and loving. Are we to believe that Gingrich and Santorum are as clean and white as new fallen snow in this political game and Romney is the devil incarnate? Please. Politics is a dirty game…If Romney doesn’t attack he is “too weak and doesn’t have the fire in his belly.” If he attacks, he is vicious and dirty and “has a glass jaw.”

I’m offering these comments because they highlight an issue I’ve thought about many times before, one that’s become big this primary season: so-called “attack ads.” We hear about it every time there’s a big election: voters want candidates to be positive and not attack each other, but attack ads work.

Well, of course they do. And I think it’s very silly to play a game of “who started it,” because—and here I’m in full agreement with “Lisa”—politics is a dirty game.

The dirtiness is hardly new, as anyone who’s ever seen this ad can testify (I remember it well):

Of course, one big difference is that this is a primary, not a general election, and yet another example of the circular firing squad that is sometimes Republican politics. But that’s not new, either, although I agree that it has reached previously unscaled heights (or would that be “depths”?) this year. And that’s very worrisome; any candidate who survives is tainted goods, and the statements of his Republican opponents will become fodder for many Obama campaign ads. On the other hand, perhaps it will all be old news by then, and the candidate somewhat inoculated against the reviving of attacks of which the public has become heartily sick.

But I have long had trouble with the use of the words “venomous” and “attack” because of the way they tend to be thrown around. The same is true of “eviscerate” and “destroy,” both of which I’ve seen a lot of lately (the words, that is, not the acts). Do these words really apply to these ads? Or are many of them just pointing out flaws in the candidate’s record or positions? Is it just ads that are erroneous that you mind?

Also, as with “T,” do you think Romney is especially hurt when he does this, and Gingrich isn’t because people expect it of him? I disagree entirely; I think negative ads are always a double-edged sword for all candidates who use them. And while it’s true that Gingrich’s negative ads may be in line with his persona, many people reject that persona, and Newt himself explicitly rejected it in his earlier statement that he wouldn’t attack the others, he’d focus on Obama. Also, as “Lisa” has pointed out, Romney was in a position where almost any response of his would have would be criticized, either for being too mean or too nice, too aggressive or too passive.

One other thing to remember in this particular campaign is that it features a huge use of PACs. How much control does a candidate really have over their content and tone? I confess that I don’t know. The law states the answer must be “none,” and although it’s naive to believe that that’s really true, I do wonder how much of their direction comes from the candidates and how much is independent.

It’s my impression that in this campaign the worst ads by far have been from candidates’ PACs. One difference, however, between Romney and Gingrich is that many of Gingrich’s “attacks” on Romney have come out of Newt’s own mouth, and these truly have been more vicious than those of anyone else in the race. I think this has hurt him far more than it has helped.

So I’ve got a request: I would love for someone to give me a YouTube link to the offensive ads in question, especially ones that were official ads from the candidate rather than from PACs. Those ads either weren’t ever shown where I live or I just don’t watch enough TV to have seen them.

[ADDENDUM: By the way, I’m still looking for an answer to the request I made in that last paragraph.]

28 Responses to “Attacking the attack ads”

  1. foxmarks Says:

    The Daisy Ad was at least a masterpiece in the art of propaganda. People might like attacks ads a little better if they’re weren’t so clumsy. But if they weren’t clumsy, the average voter might not get the message…

  2. gcotharn Says:

    You find the question of “who started it” to be uninteresting. I disagree. There are ways to hit your opponent hard, yet to do so while remaining consistent with truth. Conversely, when an opponent is hit with lies (which include statements which are misleadingly yanked from their original context): then the targeted candidates face a strategic choice to go tit for tat in a contest in which truth has little relevance. This is what Gingrich is doing, for all he is worth. And he is doing it, not b/c he was hit in Iowa with truth, but b/c he was hit in Iowa with lies.

    I find it interesting that, in every instance of candidates becoming infuriated with Romney’s lack of adherence to truth: Romney started it. And of COURSE he started it. When this is Romney’s seeming major argument for gaining Repub nomination: my opponents are too flawed to be elected!, then he HAS to start it and continue it.

    In 2008, Huckabee was infuriated with Romney in a way in which Huckabee was not infuriated with McCain. McCain was infuriated with Romney in a way in which McCain was not infuriated with Huckabee. Thompson was mad at Romney. Giuliani was mad at Romney. It all had to do with Romney playing fast and loose with truth. In Nov 2011, Romney’s people went into a post debate spin room and claimed Perry wanted to end Social Security. Romney’s people started the Iowa pile on against Gingrich. Romney hired the RNC’s head of opposition research — a man who has a direct line to getting headlines published by Drudge.

    Romney presents himself as an extremely moral man. His morality amounts to an argument which he promotes as a reason to vote for him (“I’ve been married to the same girl ….”). In a similar way, Barack’s supposed authorship of “Dreams of My Father” served as an argument for Barack’s intellectual heft. Yet, just as “Dreams of My Father” was a ruse, so Romney’s candidacies are tidal waves of immoral behavior. THAT is what is so infuriating: the false advertising, the false personal presentation. The phoniness. If Romney were moral, then he would campaign in moral fashion. Scads of electoral opponents would not be infuriated with his lack of respect for truth.

    Also, it is my sense that Romney stirs in a big dollop of supercilious condescension. He ought not. He lacks the wisdom to justify supercilious condescension. Voters inform him, of his own lack of wisdom, all the time. Their message does not seem to get through.

    Here is a YouTube of the commercial which Wolf Blitzer cited when Blitzer caught Romney in a lie on the debate stage. The ad says Gingrich called Spanish a “ghetto language” as a pejorative. Romney claimed he was unfamiliar with the ad, and that the ad probably was not his. Blitzer pointed out that Romney had “approved” the message. In actuality, Romney approved the message in Espanol. It is not believable that Romney would not have remembered the ad, excepting if Romney were practicing a Clintonesque and Eric Holderesque willful failure to remember. At the end of this rant, I enjoy the playfulness of linking this ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1_taR9pl5s&feature=player_embedded

  3. kaba Says:

    I just wish any one of the Republican candidates would spend a fraction of the time and resources they use telling lies about their primary opponents telling the truth about the Obama Administration.

  4. Y-not Says:

    I live in a state (Utah) where all I have been hearing for months are the anti-Romney ads
    I live in Utah County. I’ve seen ONE anti-Romney ad from some PAC I don’t recognize (just started seeing it within the past couple of weeks). It basically hits him on his abortion flip flop. Content appears to be accurate.

    That’s hardly the same thing as having your surrogates call the former Speaker of the House “psycho” or calling donors to Newt’s campaign stupid.

  5. expat Says:

    The Paulbots can be pretty darn negative too, at least in blog comments.

  6. neo-neocon Says:

    Y-not: your language, “having your surrogates call…” indicates that Romney dictates exactly what all his supporters will say every time they open their mouths to speak. Of course that’s true neither of Romney nor of any of the other candidates and their supporters, including Gingrich.

    Do you really think that Romney told Guy Molinari (the originator of the “psycho” comment) to say it? Think again; Molinari (who was a Republican Congressman under Gingrich) had plenty of reason to say it about Gingrich all on his own:

    “I have nothing but distaste for Gingrich,” [Molinari] said. “There are a thousand stories out there about things that happened.”

    He recounted one, from 1985, about how Gingrich promised and then bounced him from a favored committee.

    “This man is a dangerous man. I think he’s a little psycho. He believes this stuff. He lies and he believes his own lies,” Molinari said.

    Gingrich has more enemies in his own party than almost any politician I’ve ever heard of, and they can speak for themselves.

    PACs are in a somewhat gray area. Although of course the law prohibits any contact between candidates and their PACs, it’s hard to know what really goes on behind the scenes for any of the candidates. For example, Gingrich’s PAC was widely excoriated for making a hit film about Romney that was pretty much a lie from one end to the other—a Michael Moor-ish artifact. So, did Gingrich “have his surrogates” make it to his specifications? I don’t know the answer, but I doubt that any of the candidates have that sort of control over their PACs, or even very much at all.

    In contrast, Gingrich himself said a lot of over-the-top nasty things about Romney. I think we can safely attribute the words that have come directly from Gingrich’s own mouth to Gingrich himself. Just as one example, we have this from Gingrich himself.

    And, by the way, that “destroy” Newt Gingrich quote that Gingrich is referring back to is from a source even a blogger should be wary of: an anonymous “Romney staffer” who supposedly said it to Buzzfeed. Newt should be ashamed of himself for quoting a report as poorly sourced as that.

  7. Baklava Says:

    In ca we don’t see any ads.

    All i’ve seen as a very aware observer is gingrich hate during the debates. His inability to adjust. His lack of perspective.

    Gingrich has created an abhorrent view of himself in my mind.

    If I -normal baklava – think this, how many others think this?
    from my android

  8. Conrad Says:


    I don’t understand why you think it’s clear that Romney LIED about not knowing if the “ghetto” ad came from his campaign. A candidate doesn’t necessarily get intimately involved in overseeing the paid media aspect of a campaign. It’s entirely possible Romney’s campaign staff put together a whole bunch of spots in conjunction with advertising consultants and producers. For all we know, doing a radio spot in Spanish playing on Newt’s “ghetto” comment was just one idea on a list of 10-20 potential concepts Mitt reviewed, perhaps 2-3 weeks before the Florida primary. In that case, it would be perfectly reasonable and truthful for Mitt not to remember and to question whether the spot Blitzer was referring to was, in fact, a spot that had been put out by his campaign.

    Unless you have some additional information demonstrating that Romney, in fact, knew the spot Blitzer was referring to was one of his, you’re just making an assumption.

    As for the substance of the “ghetto” ad, I don’t see what’s really wrong with it. It’s certainly no more unfair or out-of-context than the other candidates’ attacks on Mitt for saying he “wanted to be able to fire people” (referring to a consumer’s ability to “fire” a business that wasn’t delivering good services).

    I also think there is more than a little dishonesty in Newt’s wholesale dismissal of Mitt’s ads and debate performances as dishonest. To hear Newt tell it, Mitt hasn’t said ANYTHING about Newt in this whole campaign that wasn’t a lie. So apparently Newt is perfect, and any negative thing Mitt has ever pointed out about his record is simply a lie. This is, of course, a ludicrous proposition. EVERY candidate has negatives, and Newt clearly has more than most. It’s both silly and fundamentally dishonest for Newt to try to pretend all of his baggage, which is well known to most Republicans, is somehow merely the product of Mitt’s mendacity.

  9. holmes Says:

    As long as they’re willing to “go negative” against Obama, it’s really fine with me. I think mostly people are tired of being bombarded with the stuff, rather than any tone. Of course, I can’t watch most news shows anymore because of the tone (Bill O’Reilly comes to mind). It’s like everything is designed to get your blood pressure up instead of thoughtfully inspire. And maybe that brings us back to the ad problem…

  10. neo-neocon Says:

    Conrad: let’s not forget this earlier greatest hit from Gingrich’s ad bag (I’m not sure if this is an official ad, or what its status is, though):

    Romney speaks French!!

    And here’s an example of words straight from Gingrich’s own mouth, not a PAC or a supposed “surrogate.” Note that this particular attack (and attack it is) was voiced by Newt on January 3, quite early in the game, when Gingrich’s nose got out of joint in Iowa (I seem to recall it was because of some ads put out by a pro-Romney PAC about Gingrich’s relationship with Fannie/Freddie). Here’s what I wrote about it at the time.

  11. n.n Says:

    They may claim membership to the same party, but they are still competing interests. Let them attack each other and be judged accordingly. There is no one free from sin.

  12. Honeyimhome Says:

    “I have nothing but distaste for Gingrich,” [Molinari] said. “There are a thousand stories out there about things that happened.”

    He recounted one, from 1985, about how Gingrich promised and then bounced him from a favored committee.

    One can also read the above, is Newt failed to award a political favor. He failed at “business as usual”.

  13. foxmarks Says:

    Does calling something negative qualify as a negative attack? It is, essentially, focusing on an opponent’s shortcomings instead of one’s own virtues.

  14. neo-neocon Says:

    Honeyimhome: my point is that Molinari was mad at Newt all on his own; he wasn’t acting on Romney’s orders.

    But since you bring it up, as far as the substance of Molinari’s complaint against Newt goes—I have noticed an unusual amount of anger at Gingrich from his former colleagues, more than I’ve generally seen in politics from allies rather than enemies. You could say that Newt failed to award a political favor, failed at “business as usual.” Implicit is the idea that there was something shady in Molinari’s expectation, almost like a payoff or something. But we really have no idea what the quid pro quo was. I understood Molinari as saying, not that he had a particular expectation of a reward and Gingrich failed to deliver, but that Gingrich had made a promise to him and then reneged on the promise.

    I don’t think it’s a good idea to make a promise and then not honor it. Your word is your bond. Don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep.

    And just now I decided to do a search to see whether I could find some more details of what happened between Molinari and Gingrich, and here it is:

    Molinari has long claimed Gingrich had bumped him from his slot as ranking Republican on the investigations and oversight subcommittee of the Public Works and Transportation Committee, even though there was a written agreement between the two not to do so.

    There’s much more there of interest, if you read the whole thing.
    It’s also inter-generational, and involves in-laws of Molinari as well; see this.

    My goodness.

  15. Crazy Bald Guy Says:

    Newt’s ad claiming that Romney took kosher food away from Holocaust survivors is the worst of the worst as far as dishonesty goes… he has no right to complain about anything.

  16. neo-neocon Says:

    Crazy Bald Guy: you’re right; I’d forgotten about that already.

    However, it illustrates one of the problems with all these “attack ad” accusations. That wasn’t an ad, it was a robocall. So, did Gingrich himself approve of it? I don’t know; he has plausible deniability, I suppose, although I think that robocalls are more likely to be his responsibility than what a PAC does. It’s a murky area; the only absolutely and unequivocally approved ads are the official ones that say at the end “my name is so and so and I approved this message.” But many of the others may be known to the candidates and approved; we just don’t know how many or which ones.

    That’s why I try to concentrate on what the candidates actually say. And Gingrich has been by far the worst in that respect.

  17. Y-not Says:

    Y-not: your language, “having your surrogates call…” indicates that Romney dictates exactly what all his supporters will say every time they open their mouths to speak.

    Well, absent an apology from the campaign for the over-the-top personal slurs by Sununu and Molinari, I’m forced to conclude that Romney’s management skills are not what we’ve been told they are.

  18. neo-neocon Says:

    Y-not: Molinari is responsible for what Molinari says and Sununu is responsible for what Sununu says. They are not Romney’s press secretaries speaking on his behalf, and they are speaking from their own personal experience and giving their own opinions on Gingrich.

    And my guess is that they will never apologize to Gingrich, any more than he will ever apologize to them for the way he double-crossed Molinari.

    By the way, I don’t think Sununu’s remarks were “over-the-top,” either. He said:

    Tom Coburn, Susan Molinari, Mickey Edwards — all these folks that were part of [Gingrich’s] inner circle, who watched him on a daily basis, said, “Enough is enough, this man is not stable.”

    And in fact, that’s exactly what happened. Sununu is describing a historical event.

    And you know what? Almost everything I’ve ever read about Gingrich’s life and personality indicates that in fact, he’s not stable. And almost everyone who ever worked for him or with him seems to hate his guts.

  19. gcotharn Says:

    I will give three fair examples of Romney unfair attacks of Newt.

    First, since you want a YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cuNkI7pzLM&feature=youtu.be
    If Romney campaign had said, in some form: the historical record shows that Newt was innocent, yet general election opponents will skew the historical record, and therefore this constitutes a vulnerability which voters ought consider … then the Romney campaign would have been hitting Newt, hard, while remaining faithful to truth. Yet, in the way the Romney campaign presents the video, the Romney campaign is not faithful to truth which eventually emerged.

    Romney campaign embraces a Pelosi insinuation:
    Just as in the YouTube Brokaw example, the Romney campaign could have presented this information in a way which hit Newt, hard, yet did not embrace a Nancy Pelosi slur in order to do so, i.e. the Romney campaign could have pointed out that Newt is especially vulnerable to this Pelosi type of attack-by-insinuation. Yet, instead of displaying fealty to truth, the Romney campaign chose to promote a Pelosi slur.

    I believe my previous, Spanish language YouTube constitutes a third example of Romney campaign video which promotes a lie about Gingrich (via representing a non pejorative reference to the Spanish language as if it had been a pejorative).

    Separate from official campaign videos, there have been many lies which Romney has personally referenced in public speeches and in debates. Romney’s statement that Newt “resigned in disgrace” represents such a lie. Romney’s statement, while subjective, is nevertheless subjective in a way which ignores history.

    The Romney-Gingrich fight (including Ron Paul’s ongoing mudslinging against Gingrich, and in support of Romney, and in return for future considerations from Romney to Paul) is a pig sty from all directions. I am just saying: despite Romney’s using his own morality as a reason to vote for him – including Romney consistently misrepresenting himself as having been the moral light of this campaign – including Romney misrepresenting facts – such as claiming he was outspent in S. Carolina …: in spite all of that, Romney’s own actions show him to be a consistent immoral actor, and a phony who is guilty of misrepresenting himself and of false advertising. It is infuriating to observe. The man is a supercilious phony.

  20. gcotharn Says:

    Romney’s resigned in disgrace statement is too vague to be fair. If we are going to say that Newt and Perry, if they were going to be fair to Romney, ought have been more specific in their Bain criticisms: then it is fair to say that Romney, if he were interested in being fair to Newt, ought present some specific evidence to back up his subjective accusation of “disgrace”.

  21. gcotharn Says:

    And he started it, against: Huckabee, McCain, Thompson, Giuliani, Perry, Gingrich, and now Santorum. It is significant that he started it, b/c what he started was not the hard hitting dissemination of truth, but rather the skewing misrepresentation of truth. It is significant, also, b/c, as Romney misrepresents truth, he presents his how morality as a significant reason to vote for him. Newt, for instance, does not promote his own shining morality as a reason to vote for him.

    An old car salesman told me that you will tell a customer a thing which will, in their buying decision, push them over the mountaintop. That thing cannot be a lie, or else the lie will come back to bite you. Up to that point, he said, tell em any lie you want – I don’t care, he said, b/c those lies do not matter (i.e. will not come back to bite you).

    I’ve always told that story as a joke (though it is an exactly true story of an old grizzled salesman who took me under his wing). However, as a salesperson who is watching Mitt sell himself: I assert that Mitt hopes that voters will go into the booth, and, in the final moment, when they make their decision, the thing which will push them over the mountaintop will be their belief in the morality and decency of Mitt Romney. Yet, Mitt’s representation of himself, as a man of moral action, is a lie. I am offended as a salesperson. He is lying about the key thing. You don’t do that.

  22. neo-neocon Says:

    gcotharn: it would be relatively easy to back up the “resigned in disgrace” charge. And it wouldn’t make Gingrich look good, either. There were several sorts of disgrace: the ethics charges (many of which were later cleared, but not at the time of the resignation, and not all of them), as well as the opinions and comments of many Republicans in Congress. Many of them have spoken out about the things Newt did, and why he was forced out. They also blame him for the poor midterm showing for Republicans (his resignation came shortly after that, you may recall—his predictions had been of a great victory in that election).

    Another type of “disgrace” was the fact that they almost certainly knew about his sexual excesses, and wanted him out of there because of the Clinton impeachment that was impending.

    Nope, Gingrich wouldn’t want Romney to go there, I think.

    As for the “he started it” routine, what Romney said about Gingrich is not even remotely as bad as what Gingrich said about Romney, and Gingrich said it very early as well, during the Iowa campaign. I have neither the time nor the inclination to trace the very first utterance of a negative word, but not all negative words are equal. I’ve spent about ten thousand words already myself on the subject of all the differences between what Romney said about Newt and what Newt said about Romney (as well as whether it was said by a robocall or a PAC or an official ad or supposed “surrogates” or the candidates themselves—all of which are different degrees of responsibility). So no need to go into it any further here.

  23. gcotharn Says:

    In my reading re Newt’s resignation, all ethics charges were dropped, excepting the charge that Newt’s college course was committing illegal political activity – and that one remaining charge, upon completion of investigation by the IRS, was dismissed. Therefore, according to my understanding of all charges: is it fair to describe Newt as having been disgraced? No, it is not fair. Whatever was the public relations hit job/meme at the time of his resignation … was proven to be inaccurate. http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/article/what-really-happened-gingrich-ethics-case/336051

    It is fair to say that Newt is especially vulnerable to misleading attacks by Dems (and by Romney and surrogates), yet it is not fair to allege “disgrace”. It is clever to allege “disgrace”. It is also misleading.

    Re the poor midterm showing
    Repub Congresspersons have come forward and said, in the light of looking back over time: it would have been difficult for any Repub Speaker to have produced better results in the 1998 midterm elections. Expectations were too high, and the blame of Newt was overly harsh.

    Re sexual indiscretions
    There is merit in your point. However, do you believe, for a second, that Romney will fail to go as far as he possibly can in this area? We can surmise that Romney has polled the best way to attack Newt in this area, and the results support Romney referencing his own marriage, and no more. If voters would countenance Romney going further, then Romney undoubtedly would go further.

    What overall point are you trying to make? THat Gingrich is a more active mudslinger than Romney? If this is your point, then it is viable for you to also admit that Romney, in every instance, starts the mudslinging. It is viable to admit a major Romney campaign theme: my opponents are unelectable, insofar as this campaign theme requires Romney to attack his opponents (though it does not require him to attack in such underhanded and misleading fashion). It is viable to point out that a major Romney campaign theme is Romney’s alleged morality, and Romney, in service of this campaign theme, steadily builds underhanded public relations campaigns which point to the immorality of his opponents. The latest campaign example are Romney’s incredibly cheeky accusations that Santorum is a nonconservative pork barrel sinner.

    Is your point that Romney runs a very clean and moral campaign, yet has been unfairly slandered as an serial purveyor of misleading attacks? I do not suspect this is your point, b/c supporting this point would require willful denial, and I do not think you will fall victim to such denial.

  24. davisbr Says:

    This isn’t a specific answer to your last question about ads, neo …but there are other’s weighing in on the question of the negative ads, and the overall negativity, that’s might be of interest to anyone reviewing this thread.

    …and they’re not being kind to Romney (or Newt).

    Jazz Shaw, Hot Air: Laying the blame before anything is lost.

    Jazz includes links to Powerline, and this little gem from Peggy Noonan:

    The Romney campaign is better at dismantling than mantling. They’re better at taking opponents apart than building a compelling candidate of their own.

    The post is not long, but there’s provisionally interesting links.

    …oh, and here’s some of the negative ads by Romney & friends


    …the ads apparently worked, drying up Newt’s funding …and with Newt’s campaign running low on cash, we seem to have moved on (for awhile).

    I’m going to go ahead and post something I said I wasn’t going to post too, neo (hope you don’t mind), as I [now] think it’s relevant for the archive record.


    @neo One of my biggest fears is that the person who winds up the candidate will emerge from this as very tainted goods, rightly or wrongly.

    …and likewise, is the largest argument against the degree of intra-party rancor, viz the looming judicial appointments.

    I don’t care which “branch” of conservatism or the GOP you avow – or disavow – this is the Sword of Damocles that hangs over our disagreements about any particular candidate, and argues for civility and an insistence on sticking to policy, focusing on solutions, and concentrating on Obama in the primaries, between the candidates, campaigns and PACs, by the base.

    …and gives current meaning to “…if we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately“.

    For once, negative campaigning is contraindicated by the partisan backlash. The use of the technique in this primary cycle is ultimately self-damaging.

    And while a truce-of-sorts is not going to stop the Obama campaign from doing whatever it’s going to do in the general, at least it wouldn’t add effective “group tested outcomes” to their oppo’ R&D.

    (Yeah, this is a rather new consideration for me. I’ve recently read some stuff about the liklihood of SC appointments that …bother …me. This election really might be too important to lose the presidency …which I don’t think will happen, but I’m getting a slight bit nervous about that “tainted goods” bit.)

  25. neo-neocon Says:

    gcotharn: I’m in a tremendous hurry right now and unfortunately can’t give much attention to this response; perhaps later I’ll manage to come back to it. But I believe I’ve made my point time and again, which is (in very rapid summary): Romney’s “attacks” have been more or less politics as usual. The worst ones have been from other people speaking for themselves about their own beefs with Gingrich (for example, Guy Molinari and Bob Dole), and some from PACs. But Gingrich’s PACs have been worse, and the words that have come from his own mouth have been the worst of all.

    I really couldn’t care less who started it. And I don’t have a clue why you would write something like, “Is your point that Romney runs a very clean and moral campaign…?” I have not said that about any politician alive today (there were a few in the past who might have come close, but just a few). I am not that naive, nor have a said a single thing about Romney that would cause you to believe that’s what I think. He’s a politician, although I think he’s a great deal—both privately and publicly—more “clean and moral” than Newt Gingrich. But he’s still a politician, and they fight dirty.

  26. gcotharn Says:

    Okay, thanks for explicitly specifying (for us slow learners) your point that Gingrich has played dirtier than Romney.

  27. fiona Says:

    From south florida- Romney ads every ten minutes, with info I knew was a lie. I don’t like any of the candidates, but before those ads I had some respect for Romney. Not now – I am firmly inthe ABR camp. It would have been easy to earn an overwhelming victory in Fl by hitting Obama’ s programs and policies, but Romney chose the negative path. Don’t give theexcuse that it was th PAC – if Romney had come out saying in public that he did not condone those ads, they would have been withdrawn. Romney clearly thinks that the stupid base, which he clearly dispises, is only swayed by emotion and uninterested in substance. I have been continually amazed by Obama’s political clubfootedness – now it seems that Romney has caught that bug too. Just too many of the elites that can’t deign to explain their wonderful selves to the hoi polloi.

  28. neo-neocon Says:

    fiona: it would be helpful if you could cite the content of the ads, so we could decide for ourselves.

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