The Anti-Newt Campaign Begins

It was only a matter of time before one of the Republican candidates unloaded on Newt Gingrich, attacking him with all (or at least some) of the reasons rank-and-file Republican voters ought to dislike him. So who was it: Mitt Romney, the man most threatened by Gingrich's rise? Rick Perry, looking to crawl back into the race? Herman Cain, in a last-ditch attempt to save his campaign? Michele Bachmann, hoping to win back the Tea Party voters who loved her for about 12 seconds a few months ago? Nope, none of them. Believe it or not, it was Ron Paul, who delivered 2 minutes and 28 seconds of hurt:

The only thing the video doesn't have is an explicit mention of Gingrich's marital history, with its multiple infidelities and trading in of wives for younger mistresses. But most everything else is there, including the famous ad he made with Nancy Pelosi supporting action on climate change, his prior support of an individual health-insurance mandate, his criticism of the sainted Paul Ryan, and the epic way he cashed in on his Washington insiderdom. The only odd note is the inclusion of comments by liberals Ed Schultz and Joan Walsh, but overall it's both completely predictable (none of this is a secret or a surprise) and utterly devastating.

But why Ron Paul? Isn't he just the guy who runs for president so he can blather on about the gold standard, to the delight of his reliable 10 percent of primary voters and the head-shaking of the rest of the Republican Party? Paul hasn't been personally critical of his fellow candidates before. The only explanation I can come up with is that he thinks that someone is going to take Gingrich down sooner or later, at which point the GOP might just be ready for its Paul boomlet. Since nobody else stepped up to do it, Paul figured he might as well move the process along.

If this gets wide play, Mitt Romney will be one happy fellow. With the Iowa caucus only a month away, he was going to have to launch something exactly like this attack soon. But now Paul may (depending on how much play what is at this point only a Web ad gets) have done a healthy portion of Romney's work for him. We'll see how Gingrich responds—I'm guessing it'll be with arrogance and contempt. Not sure why I think that.

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