DNC Unveils First Web Ad Directed At Newt Gingrich

Up until now, Democrats had been confining their attacks on the GOP field solely on Mitt Romney. The media has interpreted this as an indication that Romney is the candidate that the DNC and the Obama 2012 team both (1) fears the most and (2) thinks is most likely to win the Republican nomination. They’re softening him up for the General Election, seems to be the prevailing theory. Personally, I’ve always thought that analysis was incomplete. If you go back and look at the ads they’ve been putting out, many of them have been criticizing Romney for policy changes, something that has become a common refrain among conservatives throughout this campaign. These are arguments that are more likely to appeal to conservative Republicans than the independents that Romney appeals to, and which could cause problems for Obama were he to become the nominee.

Now, the DNC is out with an ad directed at someone other than Romney for the first time, and their new target is the new Republican frontrunner:

Here’s an ad that’s likely to play to independents in the General Election, but it’s also a preview to Republicans of the kind of ads they’d see against Newt Gingrich should he become the the nominee. Just as the Romney ads were reinforcing doubts that conservatives have about him, an ad like this is going to reinforce the doubts more mainline Republicans have about Gingrich.

I think what the Democrats are trying to do is help, however they can, to drag out the Republican race as long as possible so that the eventual nominee is as bloodied up by his own party as possible. It just might work.

H/T: Lynn Sweet

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Tano says:

    I think what the Democrats are trying to do is help, however they can, to drag out the Republican race as long as possible

    Well, yes – that would certainly be to their advantage, and I am sure that is part of their motivation. But on a deeper level, what they are trying to do is to indelibly define each of those potential nominees. To establish that first reflexive meme that pops into ones mind the moment you hear the name Romney (rich, out of touch flip flopper), or Gingrich (immoral, undisciplined radical bomb-thrower) .

    Both of these guys seem totally unable to say or do much of anything that breaks out of these descriptions. Once they are indelibly established, most of the really hard work of the campaign is done. They will spend the rest of the next year trying to dig themselves out of that hole, while the President sails off into the distance.

    On the flip side, Republicans have been trying to define Obama for years, but in such a wild and unfocussed manner, that not much has stuck. They will try to define him as incompetent, in over his head, and hope that the continued economic doldrums can back that up. But as President, there are lots of opportunities to actually do things that undermine that narrative, and if the economy gets any real traction, the Republicans are toast.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    Agree with Doug and Tano. Drag and Define. This particular ad has a side benefit: it will solidify the Tea Partier attachment to Gingrich. TP’ers will love it.

    The truly wonderful thing about Gingrich is that the more you see of him, the less you like him. His record, his past actions, his shrill little voice, his creepy wife. Fingernails on a chalkboard.

  3. Kylopod says:

    I think what they are trying to do is attack him in a way that will appeal to general-election voters without reducing his appeal to the primary electorate. Calling him “the original Tea Partier” may sound like an insult to a Democrat, but in the GOP race it’s a compliment. There are ways the Democrats could attack him that would have the potential to resonate with Republican primary voters–the Freddie Mac connections, for example, or his flip flops on the mandate and climate change–but this ad declines to mention any of those things. Instead, they’re painting him as a consistent right-wing ideologue. The implication is what I’ve suspected: the Democrats would love to have Newt as the nominee, rather than Mitt. It was for that reason that I was surprised to hear the DNC were even putting out an anti-Newt ad, but now that I’ve seen the content, I think I get the strategy.

  4. JohnMcC says:

    That ad is also an attack on the TeaPartiers. Which is interesting…..

  5. Chris M. says:

    Why is the DNC running a pro-Newt ad?

    I support everything presented.

    The ad makes me want to vote for Newt.