Watching Mike Huckabee catapult to the lead in Iowa, Mitt Romney decided to fire the first negative volley of the Republican contest, aimed squarely at the affable Arkansas governor. The Romney campaign is now airing a television ad focusing on Huckabee’s liberal immigration policies while governor, entitled “Choice: The Record.” The ad’s below:
So far, Huckabee has not undergone the intense media scrutiny usually directed at a top-tier candidate. With only 3 weeks left before Iowa, including the holidays, there is little time for other candidates to step in and start defining him. Giuliani, who benefits from a muddled outcome in Iowa, will surely not risk the backlash associated with such direct negative campaigning. McCain has largely written off the state, and even if competitive, doesn’t have the financial resources necessary. That leaves the task up to Romney, the candidate with the most to lose from an Iowa loss. Anything short of a first-place finish is a significant blow to Romney, who has invested millions in the state paramount to his momentum strategy.