Is Romney’s Campaign Panicking? Frontrunner Enters Dangerous Territory With Negative Attack Ad and Tactics

Bookmark and Share  Wednesday evening saw Mitt Romney appearing before the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce in South Dakota.  During his approximately 20 minute speech to the group at their annual banquet, the former Massachusetts governor told the 2,000 business leaders in attendance that “The great challenges we have we will overcome, if we have leaders that will tell the truth, and live with integrity, and who, by virtue of their life experience, know how to lead.”

In what seems to be turning into a theme for his campaign, Romney added that our nation’s ability to get beyond our economic problems was with a leader who “knows how to lead.”  Soon after that, Romney’s campaign posted a web ad on their Youtube page that proceeded to mock Rick Perry.  The ad was inititally announced on Romney’s Facebook page and where followers were asked “Do you think Governor Perry would be able to challenge President Obama in a debate?”  

The spot was an attack on Perry that spliced together the many moments of stammering and long pauses which Perry displayed during his poor debate performance.  Combined with some dopey looking Rick Perry facial expressions from the same debate that required precision angling and timing to capture, the ad made Perry look unprepared and too incompetent to lead.

But not long after the ad the appeared on both his Youtube and Facebook pages, it disappeared, leaving the following image in its place.

 The pulling of this ad could have been for any number of reasons, including the use of images contained that may be copyrighted and were quite innocently used but nevertheless created to questionable infringement issues.  Or it could be because it was decided that the ad went too far in trying to make Rick Perry look stupid.

Either way, there is something brewing here.  I expect that by mid or late Thursday morning, there will be some reason given by the Romney campaign for the pulling of the ad.  Whether the reason they give is true or not will be another question.   I believe that someone in the Romney campaign may have felt that the ad went too far, which is something that I am beginning to fear that the entire Romney campaign may unfortunately be doing.

On Tuesday, the Romney Campaign launched an anti-Perry website called  Rick Perry: Career Politician at

When you arrive at it, it has several different flash displays that alternate between screens that feature headlines reading things such as “Perry and Obama: Immigration Imitation”, or  “26 Years in Politics and Counting”.  By clicking on the various available links, you will find Romney produced, anti-Perry ads, and articles written by the “Romney Communications Shop” and contain such headlines as “Don’t Forget – Perry Praised Hillarycare as “Commendable” , No Texas Jobs Miracle, Rick Perry has a Problem with the Truth, and more.

You will also find a petition page where you are asked to ad your name to the following statement;

“America is facing a jobs crisis. We need a leader who understands how the economy works. If you agree career politicians got us into this mess and they simply don’t know how to get us out, sign the petition.”

On its own, wouldn’t be so bad.  As it is, Mitt Romney has been operating for weeks now and no one has suggested that went too far or is inappropriate.  In truth, it is very creative and from a Republican standpoint, all quite true.  But when you combine the recently pulled web ad that was designed to make Perry look like a moron, along with the Rick Perry: CareerPolitican website, and what you have is the chance to plausible argue that Mitt is crossing a line of negative politics that he should not be rewarded for.

Don’t get me wrong.  No matter how much people say they hate the use of negative ads and the running of negative campaigns, such tactics work.  At least if they are done right and are easily believable.  However, after seeing the ad that the Romney camp now pulled, I believe Romney’s campaign was beginning to enter a danger zone and setting themselves up for a big backlash from voters who would have seen him as going way too negative, way too early.

No matter what though, as I stated in a separate White House 2012 post on Wednesday, it is interesting that Romney still obviously sees Rick Perry as the biggest obstacle between him and the nomination.  While Perry has raised good money in a short period of time, he has also lost favor among Republicans at a rate that is much faster than the pace of Perry’s fundraising.  Meanwhile, Herman Cain is the man which polls indicate is a much bigger threat to Romney than Perry is at the moment.  Perhaps the announcement that Perry will be the bold move of proposing a flat tax has caused some in the Romney camp to panic and cause them to pull the trigger on the negative stuff.  Whatever the reason is, Romney needs to take a step back and carefully assess where things are going.  And instead of going so negative, so quickly, and realize that maybe he should have upstaged both Perry and Cain by being the first one to propose a rational, and simple flat tax, a one  rate tax code for one nation.

I have argued that one of the things Romney needed to do most was demonstrate some ability to think out of the box and break the establishment mold he has been painted in to.  I further argued that he could have done that by  proposing a flat tax rather than throwing out a well planned but seemingly bureacratic 59 point economic plan.   Instead, it is now Rick Perry who will have the chance to do that.  Not Romney.

Meanwhile, the Romney camp, or at least someone in the Romney camp is beginning to worry.  So much so that they are jumping the gun and beginning to make some of the campaign’s first strategic errors.   We’ll know for sure once someone in the Romney explains why they pulled the Perry attack ad so quickly.

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