Romney’s $55 Million Negative Attack Machine Now Targets Santorum

Thursday February 23, 2012 4:22 PM - 7 Comments

romney-santorumMitt Romney and his supporters are spending more than $4 million in the battle for next Tuesday’s must-win Michigan primary, funding a barrage of negative attack TV ads aimed at Republican presidential rival Rick Santorum.

But the spending spree is nothing new for the Romney campaign, which spent $18.8 million in January, while a pro-Romney super PAC dished out nearly $14 million in Florida, 20 times the amount spent by any other group - mostly for attack ads against Newt Gingrich.

Overall, the Romney campaign has spent more than $55 million as of early February, with negative advertising accounting for much of that amount.

Yet Romney doesn’t have a lot to show for all that spending. Of the nine GOP primaries and caucuses held so far, the former Massachusetts governor has won just four. Santorum, meanwhile, pulled off stunning victories in three states on Feb. 7, winning the Missouri primary and caucuses in Minnesota and Colorado.

What’s more, the Romney campaign has been coming under attack for the negative political advertising it now aims at Santorum. And radio talker Rush Limbaugh said Romney’s smear campaigns against fellow Republicans “is why people hate Romney so much.”

Santorum for his part has also attacked Romney’s negative advertising, declaring on Tuesday: “You see all these commercials, ‘Rick Santorum is a big spender,’ but they never once mention I voted for smaller government, lower taxes, less regulation.”

A loss in Michigan, where he grew up and his father George served as a three-term governor, “would severely hobble Romney’s run heading into crucial Super Tuesday contests on March 6,” the New York Post observed on Wednesday.

The negative ads may be helping Romney in his home state, who was trailing Santorum there. But most polls have been showing Michigan as a close race.

But nationally, the nasty attacks on fellow GOP candidates appears to be backfiring, with Romney increasingly falling behind Santorum in nationwide polls.

A new Gallup poll showed Santorum leading Romney, 36 percent to 26 percent. And a survey of registered Republicans and GOP-leaning independents by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute has Santorum with 35 percent of the vote to Romney’s 26 percent.

And if Gingrich and Ron Paul are removed from the race, Santorum’s lead in the Quinnipiac poll jumps to 13 percentage points, 50 percent to 37 percent over Romney.

{Newsmax/Matzav.com Newscenter}

Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post


Top Of Page

7 Responses to “Romney’s $55 Million Negative Attack Machine Now Targets Santorum”

1. Comment from RAM
Time February 23, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Think of what all the squandered Romney money will do for the economy. Who says these guys don’t give back?

2. Comment from Sensible
Time February 23, 2012 at 4:31 PM

It’s all for nothing. Obama has unbelievable Mazel and will end up winning the election. He has no heavyweights against him.

3. Comment from lo fidalti
Time February 23, 2012 at 6:45 PM

Romney is like a robot.
Santorum is a real person & has more chances to beat Obama’s teleprompt personality.

4. Comment from cohen
Time February 23, 2012 at 6:54 PM

Ron Paul Wins One For The Mitt Romney Team
Posted by Alex Koppelman

Poor Rick Santorum. Wednesday night’s Republican Presidential debate was his moment—his opportunity to solidify his standing, maybe even gain some ground on Mitt Romney. But almost as soon as the debate began, it was clear that he had no chance, that it wasn’t even a fair fight. Santorum had to stand on his own; Romney had an important if unlikely ally right there on stage with him in the form of Ron Paul.

The debate wasn’t the first time that the friendship—one might go so far as to say alliance, for indeed that is what it has seemed to be recently—between Romney and Paul has been evident. Indeed, Paul has been doing Romney’s work for him all week. On Monday, Paul’s campaign released an anti-Santorum ad that prompted NBC’s Chuck Todd to ask, “Just what has Mitt Romney promised Ron Paul?” (The spot was noteworthy enough that it’s also our Political Ad of the Week; you can see my take on it over on Political Scene, our hub for campaign coverage.) Still, the link between the two men hasn’t ever been quite as open and obvious as it was during the debate.

Paul’s ad, which questions Santorum’s credentials as a fiscal conservative, hits him on several specific points: “Santorum voted to raise the debt ceiling five times, doubled the size of the Department of Education, then supported the biggest entitlement expansion since the sixties,” the spot’s narrator says, continuing, “Santorum voted to send billions of our tax dollars to dictators in North Korea in Egypt and even hooked Planned Parenthood up with a few million bucks.” In Romney’s answer to the first real question of the debate, he brought up a remarkably similar list:

Well I’m looking at his historic record, which [includes] voting for raising the debt ceiling five different times without voting for compensating cuts. Voting to keep in place Davis-Bacon, which cost about $100 billion over—over ten years. A whole series of votes. Voting to fund Planned Parenthood, to expand the Department of Education.

It’s hard to believe that this is totally coincidental, especially when you factor in the Planned Parenthood bit. (If you believe that Rick Santorum personally “hooked Planned Parenthood up with a few million bucks,” and that this isn’t a case of picking a small bit of funding out of the context of a much larger bill in order to create an easy attack, I have a bridge or two I’d like to talk with you about.)

Besides, Paul spent a decent amount of time during the debate running interference for Romney against Santorum—and doing a damn good job of it, too. Asked by moderator John King, “You have a new television ad that labels [Santorum] a fake. Why?” Paul coolly responded, “Because he’s a fake,” before adding, “I find it really fascinating that, when people are running for office, they’re really fiscally conservative. When they’re in office, they do something different. And then when they explain themselves, they say, ‘Oh, I want to repeal that.’”

Later, after the candidates got a question about No Child Left Behind, Paul spent only a moment on his own position before moving on to Santorum:

The Constitution is very, very clear. There is no authority for the federal government to be involved in education. There’s no—no prohibition in the Constitution for the states to be involved in education. That’s not a bad position and we can sort things out. But once again, the Senator was for No Child Left Behind, but now he’s running for President, now he’s running to repeal No Child Left Behind. But—and he calls it a team sport. He has to go along to get along, and that’s the way the team plays. But that’s what the problem is with Washington. That’s what’s been going on for so long.

So, I don’t accept that form of government. I understand it. That is the way it works. You were with the majority…. You organized and got these votes all passed. But I think the obligation of all of us should be the oath of office…. I’m sorry about that, but it isn’t the oath to the party, it’s the oath to our office.

It’s evident, after answers like that one, that if this debate slows Santorum’s momentum, or helps Romney slow him, then Romney will have a lot of reasons to be grateful to Ron Paul. The only question that remains is how Romney might show his gratitude.

5. Comment from Jolee
Time February 23, 2012 at 8:50 PM

Not gonna help. Santorum will win the nomination. What a waste of money Romney team has spent.

6. Comment from beethoven’s friend
Time February 24, 2012 at 7:29 AM

What did Rick Santorum say to the walnut?

(How about a date?)

7. Comment from to Jolee
Time February 24, 2012 at 7:57 AM

And if he does, it may well be because of the robocalls. I’m in Michigan (primary on Tues.) and I’m finding them increasingly distasteful. Not even the content, just the barrage.

Leave a Comment