DES MOINES, IA — Mitt Romney’s latest ad running here is all about the many, many years he’s been married to his wife, Anne. Mrs. Romney is currently barnstorming the state hosting “women for Mitt” events.
All this comes as Romney’s campaign works to blunt the Newtmentum gripping this state and the country. Team Romney swears all the talk of long marriages and families isn’t a backhanded attack on Newt Gingrich’s colorful personal past. And, for now, the Gingrich campaign seems content to take Romney at his word.
On a conference call with reporters Friday, Gingrich backer and former Rep. Greg Ganske (R-IA) said he “hasn’t seen enough” of Romney’s moves to characterize them as personal attacks. Yet.
Ganske and Gingrich Iowa chair Linda Upmeyer said that Romney’s attacks, so far overtly focused on Gingrich’s record and personality as a leader, would hurt Romney rather than help him in Iowa. Republican voters here are not interested negative campaigning, they said.
For its part, the Romney campaign denies it’s doing any negative campaigning at all — especially none aimed at Gingrich’s personal history. On their call with reporters Friday, Romney surrogates former Ambassador Mary Kramer and state Representative Renee Schulte (R-IA) said Romney is just providing “contrast” between Romney’s record and Gingrich’s.
This all leads into Saturday’s big debate here, which will pit the frontrunner Gingrich against the attack mode Romney for the first time.