In Iowa, politicians trade jabs through ads


On Wednesday, ABC7 Political Analyst Bruce Cain said Mitt Romney's political advertisement about being faithful to his marriage and to his church wasn't nearly strong enough attack on Newt Gingrich. On Friday, Romney released a much-stronger message.

Unlike his earlier swipe, which never mentioned Gingrich's name, the new Romney ad goes after Gingrich specifically for not being conservative enough.

A compilation of pundits in Romney's ad charged that Gingrich "doesn't have the discipline that you want in a president" and is "basically out in the left wing of the Republican party."

The ad ends with a quote from the Tea Party favorite Rep. Paul Ryan saying with allies like that, who needs the left?

On Thursday, Romney surrogates trashed Gingrich on a conference call with reporters, and an independent group of Romney supporters released their own video going after Gingrich's past.

"Newt has a ton of baggage, like the fact that Gingrich was fined $300,000 for ethics violations," the ad said.

The former speaker is, so far, refusing to hit back. Gingrich is leading his Republican rivals by a wide margin in three of the four early primary states.

Saturday night, the Republican contenders will square off in Iowa for a debate broadcast on ABC (6 p.m. Saturday on ABC7) and it's expected the field will go after Gingrich in an attempt to pull him back.

But Perry will have to go some to top the advertisement he released this week.

"I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian," Perry said in the ad that's gone viral on the Internet.

Perry says in the ad that there is something wrong with the country "when gays can serve openly in the military, but our kids can't celebrate Christmas or pray in school."

"As president, I'll end Obama's war on religion," Perry says.

Fact check: Perry's wrong. Kids can pray in schools and, as a quick flip through YouTube shows, there's no end of Christmas pageants at public schools. School officials say they can't force children to pray or participate in a particular religious observance because they want to be sensitive to all faiths.

As for Perry's including of gays in the military as proof that something is wrong with the country, that might explain how fast the ad has spread -- but maybe not in a good way for the Perry campaign.

At the time of this publishing, the ad was closing in on 3,250,000 views on YouTube. Around 12,000 people had "liked" the video; around 481,000 people had "disliked" it.

Perry is obviously going for religious conservatives in Iowa, hoping those 12,000 who liked his ad all live in the Hawkeye State.

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