With apologies to Frankie Goes to Hollywood, when two super-PACs go to war, one ain’t all that can score. As Conn Carroll remarks, Mitt Romney isn’t going to make the mistake in South Carolina that Newt Gingrich made in Iowa by not responding to attacks from an opponent’s super-PAC. If Gingrich and his backers wants to get into a food fight over character, Romney’s backers are more than willing to unpack some baggage themselves, as their new ad “Desperation” makes clear:
Restore Our Future, the super-PAC airing this ad in South Carolina, will also begin airing this in Florida at the same time. Gingrich has little likelihood of scoring a victory in South Carolina, but even if he did, he’d have to use all of his resources to get it. Romney’s backers can apparently afford to play a longer game, and will have the first word with Florida voters in a state that Gingrich would probably need more than South Carolina to stay alive in the race. Unlike the attacks from Gingrich and his supporters on Bain Capital, these particular charges against Gingrich hurt him in the early going of this race as part of the “baggage” commonly mentioned over the last year, language which the ad explicitly embraces, as well as the later issue of the $1.6 million from his supposed non-lobbying work for Freddie Mac. These attacks go to arguments of personal and political corruption rather than just the heartlessness alleged in Gingrich’s attacks on Bain.
Frankly, I’m a little surprised that Gingrich and/or his backers put himself in position for a character debate, but here we are indeed, and “desperation” is probably the reason.