Video: Rudy's first TV ad

How is it that the guy with the second-biggest campaign coffers in the Republican field is only rolling out his first spot now, after two ads from Ron Paul, one from Fred, and about a thousand from Mitt? It’s solid enough and obviously meant to prove Rudy’s executive experience vis-a-vis Romney, although I can’t help thinking of that woman at one of the Frank Luntz post-debate focus groups who said all the chattering from Rudy about NYC had put her off. He has to talk about his record, obviously, but he’d better integrate it with national policy in the next spot.

Politico reports that Mitt is all set to go negative on him with TV ads and mailings — but is holding off, for reasons not quite clear to me. There’s some yammering halfway through about Dick Gephardt and Howard Dean nuking each other in 2004, leaving the field open for Kerry and Edwards to win in Iowa. Is that really why K&E won, though? Or is it because Gephardt was a bore and Dean an absurdity? Also, with Huckabee now six points back and a real threat to start picking up evangelicals with a big endorsement, why is Mitt focused on Rudy? If he can knock Huck and Fred out as social con rivals in Iowa and NH then he’ll have Rudy one-on-one with three weeks to blanket Florida with negative ads and plenty of momentum going in to the primary. Maybe his own polling is showing Rudy doing better in Iowa than we think? Seems hard to believe.

Speaking of going negative, Mitt had better watch his flank. There’s an opening here for Huckabee and/or Thompson.

Update: Another mystery for you to ponder. Who schedules a big fundraising day for the busiest travel day of the year?