One of those ads using viral footage that you and I have seen a thousand times but which may open some fresh eyes. They’re not messing around, either. It’s a $175,000 buy encompassing local TV in Iowa and South Carolina and a national run on Fox News. To paraphrase Count Rugen: Good heavens, fiscal conservatives. Are you still trying to win?

Here’s another potentially fruitful vein of attack. I don’t want to be paranoid about religious insinuations vis-a-vis Mitt but I raised an eyebrow to this response he gave CNN when asked about Romney’s speech:

The former Arkansas governor said from what he had heard, Romney “seemed to have done an excellent job.”

But the Baptist minister argued that he has been confronted with questions about his faith more than Romney has, and that he would make a “God speech” too if given the airtime.

“I get all of the God questions at the debates, so you know when people say, ‘Oh, he had to make a speech,’ I’m thinking, ‘Hey you know what? If you’ll give me national television time, I’ll make you a God speech, and I’ll tell you what I’ll do, I’ll throw in an offering and an altar call to throw in with it.'”

The “Christian leader” can do that for you.

Update: Yes, I’m well aware that he’s joking. It’s patently obvious that he’s joking. My point is simply that the joke is a subtle way of reminding people of his credentials as a minister, something Mitt doesn’t have. That’s what I mean by “paranoia” — you never know when, as in the case of the “Christian leader” tag, he’s trying to play the religion card or when it’s innocent.

Update: Not enough? Then tell me, what does he mean here when he asserts that Bush had the new NIE “for four years”? The whole point of the NIE is that it reversed the previous NIE from 2005 that claimed Iran had a covert weapons program. The one that just came out is brand new, compiled over the last year or so and reportedly reliant on intel that was recently obtained. He didn’t misspeak, either; he hinted that the report was four years old in an interview on MSNBC this morning too.

Between this and the “INS” gaffe yesterday, if he doesn’t watch out the narrative’s going to shift from Dumond, immigration, and religion to whether this guy has even a basic sense of what he’s talking about. Click the image to watch.

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Update: Amazing.

Questions about religion—in particular skepticism about Romney’s Mormonism—appeared to play a role in the latest results on the GOP side. The survey was completed on the day of the former Massachusetts governor’s much-heralded speech in College Station, Texas, addressing his religion, though most respondents probably had not heard it. Still, only a small number of the 540 Republican voters surveyed in Iowa (10 percent) said they wanted to hear more from Romney about that issue, and close to half (46 percent) said at least some Iowa Republican voters will not consider supporting Romney because of his Mormon faith. More than a quarter (27 percent) said they don’t consider Mormons to be Christians, and one in six (16 percent) said they are less likely to support Romney because he is a Mormon.

Huckabee’s religious credibility, by the same token, appears to be a key factor behind his surge. Huckabee has opened up a huge lead among evangelicals, who are likely to make up about 40 percent of GOP caucus-goers on Jan. 3, the survey found. Among all Republican voters who identify themselves as evangelicals, 47 percent support Huckabee while only 14 percent back Romney. Among nonevangelicals, the two candidates are dead even at 24 percent apiece. Even so, a majority of Republican voters indicated that other issues, such as abortion, same-sex marriage, immigration, health care and Iraq, are more important than religion.