Romney camp shifts into attack mode as Gingrich threatens (Video)
A new Romney ad released Friday lambasts Newt Gingrich for his criticism last spring of a fellow Republican. The gloves are off, but the Romney campaign is so far using surrogates for the fight.
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The dilemma for Romney has been how to go on the attack without damaging his image. For now, surrogates seem to be the answer. Saturday night’s debate in Iowa could be the next telling chapter in the Romney-versus.-Gingrich smack-down. Also in Romney’s corner is the Restore Our Future PAC – a well-funded “super PAC” that launched a $3.1 million ad buy in Iowa focusing on Romney’s leadership in Massachusetts. In coming days, the group may reportedly also go negative on Gingrich.Skip to next paragraph
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Another player who could help Romney is Rep. Ron Paul (R) of Texas, a favorite of libertarian-leaning Republicans. His campaign has been running an anti-Gingrich ad in Iowa, called “Serial Hypocrisy,” and is set to start airing it in New Hampshire, according to CNN.
Romney himself has promised to step up his personal appearances in early-nominating states and in the media. He says it’s time for his “closing argument.”
Romney supporters have taken some solace in Gingrich’s relative lack of money and organization, in comparison with Romney’s well-funded, highly organized operation. Four years ago, it was the super-organized Barack Obama who upset Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination by wedding organization and advisers’ granular knowledge of each state’s rules with passionate followers.
In this cycle’s Republican race, it’s Gingrich who has momentum from enthusiastic supporters. But it’s Romney who is best equipped to slog through a long nomination fight, going from state to state, contest to contest, potentially for several months.
“This will probably take longer than a week or two to sort out,” Romney told reporters in Arizona earlier this week, according to Politico. “My expectation is that it’s going to be a campaign that is going to go on for a while.”
Romney may well be right. Unlike four years ago, the Republicans are awarding some convention delegates proportionally, not winner take all, in contests that take place before April 1. That means fewer delegates will be awarded in the early contests, making it more likely the GOP primary battle will drag on longer than it did four years ago. In 2008 the nomination fight was effectively over in January, when John McCain beat Romney in the Florida primary.