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by
Bryan Preston

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October 19, 2011 - 7:23 pm

Disgusting” isn’t too strong a word to use here. The ad isn’t a hit on policy or another candidate’s record in office. It’s a very personal hit, meant to suggest without saying outright that the other candidate is a blithering idiot, by using selective video editing. That kind of treatment can literally be done to anyone who has ever spent any amount of time in the public eye over the past half century. It’s funny when Conan O’Brien does it as a comedy bit. Not so much, when a candidate does it to a competitor to suggest that another candidate is a fool.

That other candidate, by the way, is the longest serving governor in his state’s history. That state is in pretty good shape.

Mitt Romney wants to make sure voters remember that Rick Perry is a bad debater, releasing an ad this afternoon highlighting Perry’s biggest debate gaffes and unpolished behavior.

The ad questions whether Perry is ready to compete with Barack Obama on the debate stage and features negative commentary from Brit Hume of Fox News and conservative blogger and CNN contributer Eric Erickson.

The video concludes: Is he ready to lead?

Ahem. Perry has been leading the second largest state in the union for more than 10 years. He has won re-election three times to that office, and is 9-0 in his electoral career. He has also helped grow his party into a position of strength deep and wide across Texas. Wherever you come down on his policies or him as a person, Perry is pretty obviously ready to lead. That isn’t the question. The questions confronting the GOP electorate are which candidate best represents the party’s ideals and which has the best chance of defeating Barack Obama next year. Disagreeing about the answers to those questions is why we have a primary.

I would show you the Romney ad, but Romney’s campaign has apparently pulled it offline. Here’s what YouTube delivers now.

Throw a punch well below the belt, then pull it. Evidently even they sense now that the ad crossed the line. Wanting to win is one thing. Being willing to tear your party apart to get that win is something else.

It’s clear, as Erick Erickson says, that Romney has come out of Tuesday’s debate rattled and knows he can’t afford to see Perry mount a comeback. The health care barrage and the immigration questions got under his thin skin.  Like Romney’s line about firing the lawn care company that hired illegal aliens — “I can’t have illegals here, I’m running for office” — this episode tells us quite a bit about Mitt Romney, the man.

This ad may mark a turning point in the GOP primary, and the beginning of Mitt Romney’s fall from frontrunner status.

Update: The Romney camp is claiming they took the ad down due to a copyright problem.

“While the use of the CNN clips was fully within our rights under the law, we respect and appreciate the role CNN has played as host in debates over the last several months. For this reason, we are honoring their request to remove the video,” said Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul in a statement.

Campaigns use network video in their ads all the time — it falls easily under fair use.

(h/t Hot Air)

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.
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