New Romney ad: Let Tom Brokaw tell you about Newt's ethics

Watch this one while you can because Brokaw and NBC are, apparently, “extremely uncomfortable” with it.

In a statement Saturday, former NBC “Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw, who is featured in the ad reporting on Gingrich’s 1997 ethics investigation, said, “I am extremely uncomfortable with the extended use of my personal image in this political ad. I do not want my role as a journalist compromised for political gain by any campaign.”…

The NBC legal department has written a letter to the campaign asking for the removal of all NBC News material from their campaign ads. Similar requests have gone out to other campaigns that NBC says have inappropriately used clips from “Nightly News,” “Meet the Press,” “Today” and MSNBC material.

Wouldn’t surprise me if Team Mitt used the Brokaw footage in the full expectation that NBC would raise a stink. They used the same strategy a few months ago, I suspect, in that ad taking Obama out of context on the economy. They knew the left would flip out and, in so doing, increase the ad’s exposure; it’s “earned media” in the most cynically earned way. This ad is doubly clever insofar as it uses an, ahem, impartial newsman to lay out the “facts” of Gingrich’s ethics reprimand in the House. That’s an effective counter to Newt’s complaints that Romney is distorting what happened in that ethics saga — after all, we’ve got fair-and-balanced Tom Brokaw reporting on it right here — but of course, there is some distortion happening: As Byron York explained in a post a few days ago, Gingrich was ultimately exonerated of any illegality after an investigation by Bill Clinton’s IRS. (See the second clip below.) Doesn’t change the fact of the House reprimand but it does call into question whether it was warranted.

Too bad there are no more debates before Tuesday. Newt could have packaged this spot plus Romney’s defense of John King into a fine little rant about cozying up to the “elite media.” Exit question via Johnny Dollar: Since when does NBC News or its subsidiaries object to promoting certain politicians?

Update: The NYT has an interesting piece today about Team Mitt’s use of Twitter to take the pulse of Republican reaction to developments in the campaign. Here’s their newest step, another aspect of their “Newt is totally unelectable” messaging: “Romney’s campaign also debuted a new Twitter hashtag to accompany the [Brokaw] television spot: #Newtorious.”