According to the Associated Press, an independent “super PAC” supporting Mitt Romney is spending $3.1 million on its stop-Gingrich effort, filling the Iowa airwaves with negative ads. To combat that initiative, Newt Gingrich’s top Iowa advisers blasted Romney on a conference call with reporters, chastising the Romney campaign for attacking Gingrich’s character.
“This negativity is very likely to backfire,” said Iowa state representative Linda Upmeyer, Gingrich’s Iowa chair. “Iowans are not stupid people. We understand a load of crap when we see it.”
The ad buys reek of “desperation” in Boston, added former Iowa GOP congressman Greg Ganske, who spoke with National Review Online on Thursday about the Gingrich campaign’s strategy. “Mitt Romney and his minions are going totally negative . . . they must be close to panicking.”
UPDATE: More from the call:
Ganske, a member of the House GOP’s class of 1994, took care to respond to the Romney camp’s charge that Gingrich, as speaker, was “irrational.”
“When I was in Congress, I saw a great leader,” Ganske said. “I think that his campaign is annoyed that he has been steady, and he has been disciplined, and he has refused to be baited into attacking other Republicans, and focusing instead on President Obama. I think that’s part of the reason his debate performances have been viewed so positively by Republicans.”
Ganske also argued that Romney has made little effort, beyond negative ads, to woo Iowa Republicans. “Where has Mitt been in Iowa?” he asked. “He basically was going to blow this state off until the speaker rose in the polls. So now he’s coming on with this $3 million buy attacking the speaker. Having been in politics, that is a very, very risky move. If you can’t establish yourself first, and then go negative on an opponent, it really brings your own negatives sky high.”
“And I think that is going to happen with Mitt Romney hear in Iowa,” Ganske said. “Now, he may not care, because maybe he doesn’t care about winning Iowa, maybe he just wants to tear down the speaker here and then focus on, for instance, New Hampshire.”