It’s all attacks all the time now.
The average voter doesn’t know as much history as Newt Gingrich. Until recently, this must have given the former Speaker some comfort, but Mitt Romney is effectively taking that comfort away. Romney’s new commercial continues a campaign of dramatizing Newt Gingrich’s political history for the current generation of primary voters.
“Credits- Mitt Romney” Jan. 28th (Appears to be the credits at the end of a black and white film) These are not the end credits of a movie these are the names of 196 House Republicans voted to reprimand Newt Gingrich when he was speaker. It was the first time in the House’s 208-year history it had disciplined a speaker for ethical wrongdoing. 88% of Republicans voted against Newt Gingrich. These colleagues agreed. This isn’t the end of a Hollywood movie. This is reality. Don’t let it happen again. I’m Mitt Romney and I approve this message.
Meanwhile, Gingrich has stepped up attacks to a level that looks desperate and downright mean. This is from his PAC:
“Blood Money- Newt Gingrich (SPAC)” Jan. 27th The crime? Medicare fraud. The victims? American taxpayers. The boss? Mitt Romney. (Flashing images of Mitt Romney) Romney supervised the company guilty of massive Medicare fraud. That’s a fact. $25 million in unnecessary blood tests right under Romney’s nose. Romney pocketed a half million dollars. Cost to taxpayers? $40 million. Get the facts at MittsBloodMoney.com Winning Our Future is responsible for the content of this ad.
And this gotcha spot is from the Gingrich campaign itself:
“Blind Trust Bluff- Newt Gingrich” Jan.29th (Mitt Romney in the Florida Republican Presidential Debate: CNN) “My investments are not made by me. My investments for the last ten years have been a blind trust managed by a trustee. Secondly, the investments that they’ve made, we’ve learned about this since we’ve made our financial disclosure, have been in mutual funds and bonds I don’t own stock in either Fannie May or Freddie Mac. There are bonds that the investor has held through mutual funds.” Is Mitt Romney’s “blind trust” an age-old ruse to avoid responsibility? Let’s ask Mitt…(Developing story about the presidential race: interview with Mitt Romney) “The blind trust is an age-old ruse if you will which is to say you can always tell the blind trust what it can and cannot do. You give a blind trust rules.” Oops. If we can’t trust Mitt Romney with the facts, how can we trust him to beat Barack Obama? Paid for by Newt 2012.
My take on the effect on Romney and Gingrich brands:
Romney looks better in action. Like a great white calculator shark, he starts to float upside down whenever he stands still. The battle with Gingrich has invigorated his image and his wholesome aggression has lent his brand some much-needed human qualities. In short, he’s shown he can fight and be quite effective at it.
Beyond that, our problems at this moment seem chiefly to be economic. Romney can look like the perfect Moneyball Presidential Candidate, as long as he doesn’t look like the guy whose office is so far up in the sky that he no longer has any idea what’s going on on the ground.
While Romney can seem dull and disconnected, Gingrich is troubled by brand character weaknesses which led to a Job-like pile on of torments, only without the consolation of innocence. “Disloyalty” is the key idea undermining Gingrich’s electability. It resonates with his personal, political and campaign history. As he takes his Romney attacks to def-con five, he risks appearing to be willing to take down the Republican cause along with his own chances. Meanwhile promises of a Moon Colony “by the end of my second term” play into the image of a shifty and pandering D.C. insider and play up the grandiose and even delusional aspects of the Gingrich brand.
Net: Romney has won more this round than the Florida Primary.