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Campaign ads go negative in Iowa as Romney, Gingrich, Ron Paul mix it up (VIDEO)

Campaign ads bombard Iowa, as the Republican candidates and their surrogates step up efforts to raise doubts among caucus-goers about their rivals. In some ads, that means going negative.

By Staff writer / December 28, 2011

Iowans have been getting an earful from Republican ads which have become increasingly negative in the lead up to the Iowa Caucus next Tuesday. Shown here, regular patrons eat at Homer's Deli and Bakery before a visit by Mitt Romney in Clinton, Iowa Wednesday.

Brian Snyder/Reuters

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Mitt Romney doesn't like Newt Gingrich. Ron Paul doesn't like Mitt Romney. And Mr. Gingrich has little love for either one of them.

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At least that's the impression coming through from TV ads and candidates' responses, as the clock ticks closer to the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses

Some of the ads are positive. Some go after the candidate of the opposing party, President Obama. But as the race for Iowa draws to a finish, with no clear winner in view, the campaigners have stepped up efforts to raise voter doubts about their rivals for the Republican nomination.

Some of the mud-slinging is being done by surrogates, the so-called "super PACs" (political action committees) that can draw unlimited amounts of money from donors.

Watch Ron Paul's ad here:

A super PAC working on Mr. Romney's behalf, Restore Our Future, is airing ads that say former House Speaker Gingrich has "too much baggage" to beat Mr. Obama. Romney and his allies have oodles of money to spend on the effort.

In response, a Gingrich-supporting group is broadcasting spots that say Republicans are "attacking him with falsehoods," and Gingrich has personally urged Romney to be "man enough" to rein in his super PAC supporters.

The pro-Gingrich group, Winning Our Future, warns Iowans not to let "the liberal Republican establishment pick our candidate."

Haven't heard of the "liberal Republican establishment" before? From the context, it seems safe to say the ad means Romney backers who come from the corporate world and who aren't perceived as pure conservatives on issues such as abortion, gun rights, or a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

For his part, Romney has said campaigns are partly in the business of drawing distinctions among candidates. He has wondered aloud if Gingrich can "handle the heat in this little kitchen," which will only get hotter in a general-election campaign.

Watch Mitt Romney's ad here:

Rep. Ron Paul of Texas has mounted attacks of his own, which could grow louder on the airwaves as he sets his sights on a potential first-place finish in Iowa.

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