Gingrich ad labels Romney 'dishonest man'

By Henry C. Jackson

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Jan. 27 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

WASHINGTON — TITLE: "What Kind of Man?"

LENGTH: 1 minute

AIRING: On broadcast and cable stations in Florida.

KEY IMAGES: The ad begins with footage of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who ran against Romney in the 2008 GOP presidential contest, talking into the camera. "If a man's dishonest to get a job, he'll be dishonest on the job," Huckabee says.

Downbeat music starts playing. A narrator intones darkly as a blurry image of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney slowly comes into focus. "What kind of man would mislead, distort, and deceive just to win an election?" the male voice asks. "This man would. Mitt Romney."

As a series of photos of Romney from recent debates flash across the screen, a bright red "false" stamp flashes across a different picture of Romney, who appears pained.

"Romney said he has always voted Republican when he had the opportunity," the narrator says. "But in the 1992 Massachusetts primary, Romney had the chance to vote for George H.W. Bush or Pat Buchanan but he voted for a liberal Democrat instead."

The narrator continues: "Romney said his investments in Fannie and Freddie were in a blind trust. But as reported in the National Journal, Romney earned tens of thousands of dollars from investments NOT in a blind trust. Romney denied seeing a false ad his campaign used to attack Newt Gingrich. But Romney's own campaign paid for the ad ... Romney's own voice is on the ad approving the content.

"If we can't trust Romney in a debate, how can we trust him on anything?"

As the final line is read, a picture of Romney with his head bowed appears with text next to it that is superimposed over a shot of the White House. It reads, ".... and that's why he would lose to Barack Obama."

The ad signs off with "Paid for by Newt 2012."

ANALYSIS: From disappointing losses in Iowa and New Hampshire to a soaring victory in South Carolina, the level of vitriol in Gingrich's attacks on Romney has waxed and waned. After scaling back his barbs in two debates, Gingrich has seen his numbers slip. Opinion polls show a close race in Florida, with a slight advantage for Romney. This ad dramatically escalates Gingrich's attacks on Romney.

It is by far Gingrich's sharpest, most personal attack on the former Massachusetts governor to date. "What Kind of Man?" also seems to signal that Gingrich will fight bitterly for the GOP nomination.

The ad curiously begins with Huckabee, currently a TV personality and popular conservative Republican figure. Gingrich may be hoping to remind viewers that, at least four years ago, Romney's fellow presidential aspirants could barely contain their anger at him. Huckabee hasn't endorsed in this year's contest.

As a narrator takes over, the ad makes a series of claims that Romney could justifiably dispute.

It alleges that Romney voted for Democrats when he could have voted for Republicans. While this is technically true of the 1992 Massachusetts primary, Romney has said repeatedly that he was a registered independent so he could have more influence in a state where Democrats typically dominate. Romney has maintained that he has always voted for Republicans in general elections, and voted in the Democratic primary so he could vote for a weaker candidate and improve the GOP's chances.

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