The combined effect of Ron Paul's campaign commercials and the attacks ads released by his supporters is making for a blistering day of negative campaigning. From South Carolina to New Hampshire, ads targeting everyone from Mitt Romney to Rick Santorum to Rick Perry to John Huntsman are blanketing the states.
In South Carolina, CNN reports that Paul's campaign is "flooding ... mailboxes with a letter calling Newt Gingrich a 'counterfeit conservative.'" The five-page mailing also rips Perry's immigration record, Mitt Romney's abortion volte-face and his advocacy for "state-run health care." But Gingrich's treatment is by far the worst:
Newt Gingrich has a long record of liberal appeasement, flip-flopping on key issues, and lobbying for insider millions. I have rarely seen a candidate who represents so much of what is wrong with Washington and what is wrong with our political system.
On a humorous note, Paul's super PAC Endorse Liberty has unveiled a slew of satirical web videos featuring actors impersonating Romney, Santorum, Gingrich and Perry, reports The Washington Post. The most bruising impersonation is of Santorum who's depicted as a trigger-happy war-monger. “Any person, place or thing — any noun, really — that starts with an ‘I’ sound is an enemy to American Exceptionalism and should be nuked,” the fake Santorum says. “That means you, Ikea. You’re next.” Of the four ads, the impersonation for Romney, with its stop-and-start cadence and head bobbing, is probably the most dead-on. (See all four here)
On an uglier note, a group of Ron Paul supporters (or Ron Paul saboteurs) released an ad attacking Huntsman on Thursday that both Huntsman and Paul have denounced today. Of the series of cheap shots, the ad takes aim at Huntsman's adopted daughter:
The web ad from the group, New Hampshire Liberty 4 Ron Paul, takes aim at Huntsman's ambassadorship in China, his ability to speak Mandarin, and even his adopted daughter, Gracie Mei, who is Chinese. The spot closes with an image of Huntsman dressed as China's communist leader Mao Zedong.
In an interview with CNN, Paul denounced the ad. "Of course I disavow him and he shouldn't do it, because you have one out of how many, a couple hundred thousand, five hundred thousand, I don't know how many people we have, because one does that, to bring that up just doesn't sound like a fair thing to do," he said. "Of course I denounce it, I couldn't even hear it, haven't looked at it, but people do that, and they do it in all campaigns."