When polling showed Newt Gingrich in the lead just before the Iowa Caucuses, a Super PAC backing Mitt – “Mr. Inevitable” – Romney released a barrage of attack ads against the former House Speaker, hitting him for supporting a national health insurance mandate, “amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants,” and for appearing in an ad alongside then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in 2008 urging the country to address climate change.
When asked about the ads in a debate prior to the New Hampshire primary, Mitt claimed ignorance over their content, yet declared that they were true and accurate. He concluded that since he is prohibited by law to interfere with super-PAC activity, along with the “fact” that they contained accurate information, they were worthy of the voters consideration.
After he was soundly defeated in the South Carolina primary shortly thereafter, the Romney campaign and his super-PAC spent a record amount of money spreading more personal attack ads in what pundits called one of the sleaziest campaigns ever.
After knocking Newt out of commission, Romney’s super-PAC went to work on Santorum. As Santorum continued to give Romney all he could handle, the attacks became more and more intense, prompting a Santorum senior adviser to call the pro-Romney ads “troubling,” particularly since they were aimed at Republicans.
Now we come to today’s news, where a different super-PAC was considering running ads that would expose Obama’s connections with Rev. Jeremiah Wright. These ads hadn’t run yet and after news about them hit the public, Romney felt compelled to repudiate the effort, sight unseen.
“I repudiate the effort by that PAC to promote an ad strategy of the nature they’ve described. I would like to see this campaign focus on the economy, on getting people back to work, on seeing rising incomes and growing prosperity — particularly for those in the middle class of America. And I think what we’ve seen so far from the Obama campaign is a campaign of character assassination. I hope that isn’t the course of this campaign. So in regards to that PAC, I repudiate what they’re thinking about.”
Hmmm…. sounds a little like – gee, I don’t know – John McCain?
“This has the potential to be a recipe for disaster,” says Republican strategist Ford O’Connell, who worked for the McCain campaign in 2008. “There could be a significant backlash, and that’s not what Romney needs in this tight race.”
Well, we know how well that worked for Johnny-boy, don’t we? Somehow the definition of insanity – you know, doing the same thing over and over, each time expecting a different result – comes to mind.
There were those who felt that Romney’s attack strategy during the primaries showed a “maverick-like” willingness to be tougher than the flip-flopping, moderate-Republican persona that followed him throughout his career. But, just like the maverick he is apparently trying to mimic, it looks like Romney is going to take the same road McCain did in 2008.
I guess Ace of Spades has it right: “All Democrats need do is cry ‘hatred’ and everyone falls into line, like good little conditioned monkeys.”
People can debate the wisdom of Romney’s actions concerning the “Reverend” Wright super-PAC ads, but it’s a shame that Romney wasn’t this concerned during the primaries when battling his fellow Republicans.
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