Remember when this election was going to be all about jobs and the economy? Good times, good times.  Just hours after the Mitt Romney campaign released — and then apparently pulled — an ad that accused Rick Perry of being a moron, Team Perry hits back with a 60-second spot calling Romney a liar.

Remember when both men positioned themselves as men of faith?  Good times, good times:

The statement from Perry’s campaign was rather terse:

The Perry campaign today released a video highlighting Mitt Romney’s ongoing efforts to mislead the American people regarding his support for Obamacare and knowingly hiring illegal immigrants to tend his lawn and tennis court.

Well, why not?  It’s become obvious that both men want to go for the jugular in this battle, but what I can’t quite figure out is why Romney’s playing this game at all.  Going after Perry this hard elevates Perry back into the position of being Romney’s chief rival — and a potential rallying point for conservatives looking to defeat Romney.  While Perry clearly has trouble in debates, he’s a fundraising juggernaut, and that’s going to be more dangerous to Romney in the long run.

Both men will end up getting damaged in this exchange, which again prompts the question of who will actually benefit from this mudslinging contest.  It could be Herman Cain, although his answers on 9-9-9 and on dealing with terrorists have people questioning his seriousness.  It may be that Republican voters will start turning more towards the man who has made the case throughout all of the debates that Republicans should be focusing on Barack Obama and not each other.  Who could have predicted that Newt Gingrich would have become the candidate of positive politics?