Romney visits Bay Area for fundraiser

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks to Citadel cadets and supporters during a campaign speech inside Mark Clark Hall on The Citadel campus in Charleston, S.C., Friday Oct. 7, 2011. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
December 7, 2011 7:51:26 PM PST
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is in Burlingame at a fundraiser hosted by Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman. Romney's campaign has promised that he'll be more available to reporters, but ABC7 didn't see any evidence of that Wednesday night.

Romney's supporters are calling on the campaign to switch strategies and become more available and maybe more aggressive. On Wednesday Romney took a thinly veiled swipe at his major rival Newt Gingrich in a new television ad.

Romney's new campaign ad is about as subtle as a sledgehammer.

"I've been married to the same woman for 25... excuse me, I'll get in trouble... for 42 years," said Romney in the ad.

He never mentions the name Newt Gingrich anywhere in the ad, but it's clear the contrast Romney is drawing between himself and the former speaker who has been married three times.

In the ad, Romney also goes on to say, "I've been in the same church my entire life."

Gingrich was raised Lutheran, became a Southern Baptist and then converted to Catholicism.

In the ad, Romney says, "If I'm president of the United States, I will be true to my family, to my faith, and to our country."

Romney's attack is intended to bring down Gingrich's soaring numbers with less than a month to go before the Iowa caucuses. Gingrich is leading in Iowa with 33 percent to Romney's 18 percent, Ron Paul's 18 percent, and Rick Perry's 11 percent. Gingrich is also leading nationally and he's making a move in New Hampshire where Romney had been a lock.

"All of you were told in June and July that I had disappeared and it must be a great shock to have me showing back up again," said Gingrich.

Wednesday, Gingrich joked about his rise at a Republican forum in Washington D.C. Romney's campaign isn't amused, Republicans close to Romney say the campaign is launching an immediate shift in strategy and as one put it bluntly, what they're doing isn't working. ABC7's political analyst Bruce Cain, Ph.D., says you can say the same about Romney's new ad.

"I think it's not sufficiently direct and I think the pressure is going to build on Romney to go after Newt in a much more direct, confrontational way," said Cain.

The Gingrich campaign responded to the new Romney ad by sidestepping the slap. A Gingrich aid said Romney's 42 year marriage is "a tremendous accomplishment and something in which he can rightly take pride."

Gingrich has the numbers, but Romney has the money -- $32 million in the last reporting period. And Gingrich has made only about $2.9 million and his campaign is $1 million in debt.

ABC7 was told it was $2,300 to get into the fundraiser, but as far as how people may be attending or what they hope to take in total, the campaign isn't saying.


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