Video: 1994 Romney ad blasted Kennedy’s negative advertising

posted at 9:50 am on December 23, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Hey, don’t worry about this.  I’m sure his stance has evolved in the last seventeen years:

Actually, I’m here to defend Mitt Romney, not criticize him, over this ad — and to defend negative campaigning in general.  In 1994, the dynamics of running against a Kennedy in Massachusetts made it strategically advantageous to run as a big underdog in the race.  Romney played it smart by running this ad, which strongly implied that Kennedy was using his money to bully Romney unfairly because Kennedy had run out of ideas having spent his life in Washington.  It didn’t unseat Kennedy, but Romney’s bid was a long shot among long shots in the first place.

Furthermore, political campaigns should focus on the records of the candidates involved, and that’s going to involve criticizing opponents — even in primaries.  That may be “cynical, old-style politics,” but it’s “old-style” because it works.  Every successful campaign I’ve ever seen has employed both positive and “negative” ads in a balance that keeps the overall tone of the campaign more positive than negative.  Even Newt Gingrich has had no problem reaching into the past records of his “competitors,” as Gingrich likes to call his fellow Republicans, and he’s certainly — and appropriately — gone “negative” on Barack Obama.  (Of course, Gingrich says that he’s limiting his no-negative campaign pledge to the primary, in order to avoid damaging the eventual nominee.)  Gingrich has criticized Romney in debates on health care, and attacked Romney on his Bain experience from the campaign trail, although he later semi-apologized for it.

Besides, there is nothing inherently wrong with “negative” ads, as long as they stick to the facts.  How else will a candidate have their records and positions vetted?  The candidates are certainly not going to get up on the stump and say, “Well, I’ve outlined all the ways I’m totally wonderful, so now let me tell you about my mistakes and errors.”  Negative ads can and often do tell half-truths, take statements out of context, and sometimes tell outright lies, but voters need to do their homework, too — and the candidates can answer those with the truth and expose their opponents as misleading and/or dishonest.  And positive ads often tell half-truths, take points out of context, and sometimes tell outright lies, too.

The only criticism that can be made of this ad in the current campaign context is that these recurring public challenges to stop attacking end up making politicians look a little hypocritical at some point in the future.  Even that process reversal has become so ubiquitous in elections that’s barely worth mentioning.


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Comment pages: 1 2

What’s funny to me about Romney is he tells Gingrich to man up but he isn’t man enough to debate Gingrich one on one about the nature of these ads Romney is running against Gingrich.

It seems to me Newt won the who is the bigger man contest in this round.

Dr. Tesla on December 23, 2011 at 3:08 PM

Basilsbest to Republican voters:

You are stupid if you don’t support my preferred candidate.

The art of persuasion is lost on some people.

Dr. Tesla on December 23, 2011 at 3:11 PM

To restate last month’s Hot Air log briefly, the Republican primary is a contest between a lying slick-haired flip-flopper, a fat slick-tongued authoritarian, a dumber-than-rock used car salesman, a snotty preacher, a screechy dingbat, and a libertarian kook past his expiration date by a decade. Second look at Obama?..

Archivarix on December 23, 2011 at 3:32 PM

To restate last month’s Hot Air log briefly, the Republican primary is a contest between a lying slick-haired flip-flopper, a fat slick-tongued authoritarian, a dumber-than-rock used car salesman, a snotty preacher, a screechy dingbat, and a libertarian kook past his expiration date by a decade. Second look at Obama a lawn gnome?..

Archivarix on December 23, 2011 at 3:32 PM

Obama’s a statist, blame America first who rammed an unpopular Obamacare bill down our throats and has presided over the worst economy since FDR.

No second look at Obama.

Dr. Tesla on December 23, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Dr. Tesla on December 23, 2011 at 2:29 PM

Don’t whine to me! There are children starving in China North Korea!

Buy Danish on December 23, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Don’t whine to me! There are children starving in China North Korea!

Buy Danish on December 23, 2011 at 3:35 PM

No, I think my point was, don’t whine and try to get people banned on websites simply b/c don’t likke their opiinions.

People who have cancer and serious problems don’t whine about it, soldiers don’t whine like some of the people like you who want to control the debate on a comments board where the purpose is for people to share their opinions, wrong or right.

Dr. Tesla on December 23, 2011 at 3:39 PM

My point was, the lynch mobbists on internet websites are petty and need to get some perspective.

Dr. Tesla on December 23, 2011 at 3:40 PM

I just wanted to point out this post, because this one of member of the lynch mob trying to get me banned, and he’s personally attacking Ed here. You’ll never see me personally attack Tina, Ed, or Allahpundit for an opinion.

If this one post can derail Romney in a general election, was he ever really that electable?

Romney’s not the nomineee yet, there’s a small matter of voting that needs to occur first.

Dr. Tesla on December 23, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Yoo hoo Tesla. Lynch mob. You’re funny. I think your posts are hilarious but I’ve never tried to get you banned. Provide your proof or withdraw your allegation. And who said one post would derail Romney. It’s post after post after post on this site. And the key word was trying. Mitt is going to be the nominee.

Basilsbest on December 23, 2011 at 3:52 PM

I’ll take you at your word, it’s possible I confused you with some other Romney fans who are pitchforkin’ for my lynchin’. I’m not going to dig through all your past posts for evidence. :)

I think good chance Mitt loses 2 out of the first three states. If he doesn’t win Florida, he’s toast, in my view.

I think Hotair has been pretty balanced. They don’t bury stuff that isnt’ helpful for Gingrich. If you are an objective political analyst, don’t you have to post a video where Romney is whining about attack ads if Romney just mocked Gingrich for whining about attack ads? This is what makes politics fun. :)

Dr. Tesla on December 23, 2011 at 4:02 PM

BOMBSHELL: Another 1994 video has been unearthed of Romney talking about health care! Here’s the Link – Romney in ’94 on Health Care

Ed Morrissey, would you, AP or Ms. Korbe please do a writeup analysis on this? I think it is a video that every Republican voter must see before making a decision.

bluegill on December 23, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Oh really, this guy is totally corrupt and phony. He is a dangerous man and must be defeated. Plus, Romney is the son of politician who feels it is “his turn”, but after seven years running for president, he can’t even seal the deal with his own party. He is a corrupt rich Wall Street financial guy, the perfect foil for Obama’s class warfare campaign – for those who still don’t get it, OWS is the Obama 2012 campaign.

nancysabet on December 23, 2011 at 4:14 PM

Come on America, save this country and vote for a credible leader. Governor Perry has been the 800 pound political gorilla since he even thought about getting in – because of PROVEN CONSERVATIVE GOVERNANCE, the Texas record on jobs, and his electoral success (i.e. never lost one).
I pray that Governor Perry will fight his way back into this with a good showing in Iowa – that the field will thin out – and that with four or so podiums instead of 8 he will look much more credible as a POTUS.
A good man. A great American. Goodspeed, Governor Perry.

nancysabet on December 23, 2011 at 4:17 PM

No, I think my point was, don’t whine and try to get people banned on websites simply b/c don’t likke their opiinions.
Dr. Tesla on December 23, 2011 at 3:39 PM

Who was doing that? Was someone trying to ban you? You got well-deserved flack for pulling the Joseph Smith card, and for posting comment after comment which was not in response to anything – just a monologue. When anyone criticizes anything you say you yell “control freak!” and complain they are being “contentious”. You know what sounds “contentious”? This.

Instead of role-playing The Victim, you may want to think about how pathetic that line of commentary is. Ron Paul (for example) is rightfully called a “nut” by many people from all over the political spectrum, not because of his religion, but because of things he says and does. Unless you can point to things that Romney says and does which are “nuts”, you’ll forgive those of us who view your comments in that vein as nothing short of bigotry. And by “nuts” I don’t mean policy disagreements; I mean off the wall fruitcake crazy stuff. Since you can’t do that you will be called out when you play this disingenuous game.

As for your bout with cancer, I’m glad you survived a terrible ordeal. I would suggest however that your experience is in no way analogous to your habit of pulling the Mormon Card and then coming up with a ludicrous explanation as to why you are doing it. When people get fed up with that sort of offensive commentary it is not “whining” it is “indignation”. Surely you know the difference.

Buy Danish on December 23, 2011 at 4:43 PM

If Romney is calling other candiddates “zany”, why can’t I talk about Joseph Smith? His SuperFans like you always make him out as this incredibly smart man, so it’s fun to point out that he believes Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I still haven’t heard anybody refute me on that.

Seems like fair game to me, brother.

You’re playing the victim card with this Mormon card thing.

I talk about Romney a good bit and I rarely mention his Mormonism.
RomneyCare and his lack of conservative accomplishments is why he shouldn’t be the nominee.

Dr. Tesla on December 23, 2011 at 4:54 PM

To restate last month’s Hot Air log briefly, the Republican primary is a contest between a lying slick-haired flip-flopper, a fat slick-tongued authoritarian, a dumber-than-rock used car salesman, a snotty preacher, a screechy dingbat, and a libertarian kook past his expiration date by a decade. Second look at Obama?..

this description sounds exactly right. One of them will be running against a socialist,liberal,big spendingand taxing 4th best president in american history.

gerrym51 on December 23, 2011 at 4:58 PM

Buy Danish on December 23, 2011 at 4:43 PM

He seems to crave attention, and you might just be giving him what he wants.

bluegill on December 23, 2011 at 5:36 PM

I think Hotair has been pretty balanced. They don’t bury stuff that isnt’ helpful for Gingrich. If you are an objective political analyst, don’t you have to post a video where Romney is whining about attack ads if Romney just mocked Gingrich for whining about attack ads? This is what makes politics fun. :)
Dr. Tesla on December 23, 2011 at 4:02 M

Perhaps I missed it but I don’t recall any posts where Ed Morrissey criticized Gingrich’s appalling lack of judgement for supporting Freddie Mac or his lying about what he did.

I think an objective analyst would have informed Hot Airheads of Gingrich’s cameo appearance in the book that explains the near collapse of the banking system: Reckless Endangerment. On a scale of what’s important in picking a nominee, out of 10, Newt’s involvement in the Freddie Mac debacle is a 9, Romney complaining about an attack ad is a 2.

Basilsbest on December 23, 2011 at 6:41 PM

BOMBSHELL: Another 1994 video has been unearthed of Romney talking about health care! Here’s the Link – Romney in ’94 on Health Care
Ed Morrissey, would you, AP or Ms. Korbe please do a writeup analysis on this? I think it is a video that every Republican voter must see before making a decision.bluegill on December 23, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Wow. No wonder every true conservative hates Romney.
Ed Morrissey will certainly tear Romney a new one when he sees this. //

Punchenkobest

Basilsbest on December 23, 2011 at 6:54 PM

Does a two faced politician ever surprise me? Nope!
Does a religious hypocrite ever surprise me? Nope!
Romney does not surprise me at all, but at least he makes BO and the DemocRATS tremble.

mediamime on December 23, 2011 at 6:57 PM

Dr. Tesla on December 23, 2011 at 4:54 PM

If Romney is calling other candiddates “zany”, why can’t I talk about Joseph Smith?

Because he doesn’t do or say “zany” things?

His SuperFans like you always make him out as this incredibly smart man, so it’s fun to point out that he believes Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I still haven’t heard anybody refute me on that.

You know who doesn’t sound very bright? You, Dr. Tesla. It is clear to any sentient human being that Mitt is extraordinarily bright and accomplished. Put that in the “refute” column. Meanwhile, I gave you an opportunity to provide evidence of something he has said or done which is “nutty” and you failed to do it.

Seems like fair game to me, brother.

If you want to call it a “game” you’re losing badly so perhaps it’s better if you don’t call it that.

You’re playing the victim card with this Mormon card thing.

I’m not a Mormon so I’m not a victim (except to the extent it’s torture to read your asinine commentary).

I talk about Romney a good bit and I rarely mention his Mormonism.

It’s the quality not the quantity of your comments that is in question.

Buy Danish on December 23, 2011 at 7:28 PM

bluegill on December 23, 2011 at 4:03 PM

I doubt that Ed Morrissey will post that revealing video of Romney but I hope you keep posting it. It might help correct some of the idiocy that prevails here concerning Mitt.

Basilsbest on December 23, 2011 at 7:40 PM

BOMBSHELL: Another 1994 video has been unearthed of Romney talking about health care! Here’s the Link – Romney in ’94 on Health Care
bluegill on December 23, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Excellent! Not just on healthcare but on the whole idea of the Federal bureucracy micromanaging the states, dictating how many doctors they have in what specialty. Let the free market decide…

You may want to send it to the tips@hot air dot com address…

Buy Danish on December 23, 2011 at 7:41 PM

nancysabet on December 23, 2011 at 4:14 PM

“Dangerous”? Whatevs, Nancy. Ron Paul your man by any chance? Or do you always engage in ridiculous hyperbole?

Oh well, Merry Christmas from the “dangerous” Romneys. Ooga Booga!

Buy Danish on December 23, 2011 at 7:50 PM

From a Ben Shapiro column entitled “No To Mitt Romney”

Throughout the Republican debates, Romney has somehow suckered much of the conservative world into believing that he is a solid fiscal, social and foreign policy conservative. He says many of the right things — though he looks supremely uncomfortable saying them — and this has been enough to send the GOP establishment, which loves a blue state Republican, into spasms of ecstasy.

But as my dad told me when I was 10 years old: Don’t watch what people say, watch what they do. And what Mitt Romney did when he had power in Massachusetts wasn’t just non-conservative — it was all out liberal. Let’s leave aside, for the moment, the fact that he tried to run to Teddy Kennedy’s left in 1994 on major issues including gay rights; let’s leave aside the fact that he disowned Ronald Reagan during that same run. Let’s just focus on what Romney did as governor of a major state from 2003-2007, with particular emphasis on the tasks he’d be performing as president of the United States.

First off, he raised taxes. He called these fees, but Romney’s push for a balanced budget meant that he proposed raising tuition at state schools; he raised fees for buying a home; jacked up fees to receive a certificate of blindness (that’s right, he tried to place a stumbling fee in front of the blind); raised corporate taxes; tried to raise fees for driver’s licenses, marriage licenses and gun licenses; and increased a special gasoline fee. Romney may now take a harsh anti-tax stance — but when he faces deficits that dwarf what he faced in Massachusetts, why wouldn’t he apply the same solutions he did then?

Second, Romney rammed through Romneycare. At a time when his state was going bankrupt, he decided — like President Obama — that the most important problem was lack of affordable private sector healthcare. To be fair, Romney was under a fair bit of pressure from the federal government to raise healthcare coverage for uninsured patients. But the solution to that problem wasn’t an individual mandate. Nonetheless, that’s precisely the solution Romney hit upon, and with the support of Teddy Kennedy, made it happen. Predictably enough, the cure was worse than the disease — Massachusetts has nearly bankrupted itself in order to pay for Romneycare and made itself even more dependent on the federal government.

Third, on social issues, Romney was about as strong a social conservative as RuPaul would have been. In May 2004, he told town officials across Massachusetts to start issuing marriage licenses for two men or two women. He also signed into law one of the most restrictive anti-gun measures in state history. When it came to appointing conservative judges, Romney failed miserably — at the end of his term, he actually refused to fill certain vacancies, leaving them to be filled by his liberal successor. According to the Boston Globe, a 2005 review of Romney’s appointments showed that he had “passed over GOP lawyers for three-quarters of the 36 judicial vacancies he has faced, instead tapping registered Democrats or independents including two gay lawyers who have supported expanded same-sex rights.”

I hear the New York conservative chorus shouting desperately from the wings: “But he was faking it!”

If he was faking it, he’s an Oscar-caliber conservative. What the record reveals isn’t a conservative attempting to play nice with liberals only to sucker-punch them with right-wing policy that works. The record shows that Romney was willing to change positions repeatedly in order to attain power, and once in power, he was willing to change positions repeatedly in order to maximize it. His road to Damascus conversions on abortion, taxation and other key issues are always conveniently timed to allow him to make a play for the most valuable audience.

Does that make him the “most electable”? Only if you believe, as many conservatives do, that conservatism is a losing argument on a national level. The country has moved consistently to the left since 1928. There’s a reason for that: While liberals run unabashed liberals, conservatives run half-liberal candidates. In a time when further liberalism of any sort will destroy America’s future, half-liberal measures are no solution. Nominating Mitt Romney would be a betrayal not only of conservatism but also of the greatest opportunity for resurrection of American greatness in a century.

Dr. Tesla on December 24, 2011 at 12:54 AM

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