GOP primary ad wars continue

In case you missed the Headline item earlier, Mitt Romney came out with a whopper today: Rick Santorum’s light-hearted “Rombo ad,” Romney said, was “the most negative ad” he’s seen.

“He was the first person in the campaign to run negative ads, attacking me,” [Romney said.] “He did that through his campaign in South Carolina, his PAC also ran negative ads against me, and then he’s got the most negative ad I’ve seen, so far — the one attacking me for attacking him.

“Look, it’s not something I’m going to whine about. I know there’s some candidates that want to whine about the fact that you go back-and-forth and talk about the distinctions between one another.”

Oh, Romney, you’re not fooling anyone. We all know the Florida GOP primary campaign actually was the most negative campaign in history — and that your attacks on Newt Gingrich and his attacks on you were responsible. Santorum stayed completely above that fray. Lately, the Santorum campaign has had the means to message more fiercely — but, at the very least, I’d say his takedown of Newt Gingrich in the ad “Deal” was more hard-hitting than his creative play on “Rambo.” Also, please don’t say, “it’s not something I’m going to whine about” as you whine about it. That’s barely better than saying, “No offense, but …” before you give offense. Just lay off the mitigating remarks entirely.

Meanwhile, Gingrich continues to vent his frustration at Romney’s unaccountable Super PAC. In typical Gingrich fashion, the former Speaker has denounced with plenty of adverbs the PAC’s latest effort:

Newt Gingrich’s campaign sent letters to certain TV stations Friday warning them against airing a commercial paid for by a super PAC supporting Mitt Romney.

According to the letter, the campaign claims the ad is “fundamentally NOT TRUE.”

Produced by the group Restore Our Future, the commercial is set to air in Georgia, a state Gingrich formerly represented as congressman, as well as other Super Tuesday states.

The spot claims Gingrich co-sponsored a 1989 bill with then-Rep. Nancy Pelosi “that would have given $60 million a year to a U.N. program supporting China’s brutal one-child policy.”

But the former House speaker claimed the ad is “unequivocally false.”

It’s hard to say which is more irritating: The omnipresence of misleading, disheartening, demotivating ads — or the petty reactivity of the candidates, who by their decision to run for president invited scrutiny and now decry it. It all just makes me want to throw my hands in the air and say: Grow up!

A quick reminder to consumers: Don’t count on the candidates to tell the truth about themselves — and that definitely goes for Obama, too. The burden is on us to root out the facts and vote accordingly.