Romney Goes After Huckabee With Attack Spots

Someone Had to Do It

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Mitt Romney, trying to claw back to the lead in Iowa, goes after Mike Huckabee's tendency to pardon any Arkansas prisoner who offered up an apology and a warm-hearted smile.

Huckabee is very vulnerable on this front. The surprising thing is that the trailing candidates haven't done much to bash him. Perhaps some of them can't afford the air time. Perhaps others, like Rudy Giuliani or Fred Thompson, are content to stand back and let the two most overtly religious candidates weaken one another.

Romney, however, has a war chest. And he can't really afford to lose out to Huckabee in the early states. (And after Huckabee's "aw-shucks, I didn't mean to say they was Devil-worshippers" Gomer Pyle routines regarding Mormonism, Romney might take some delight in pointing out that Huckabee's religion has made him a little soft-hearted -- and possibly soft-headed -- when it comes to dealing with crime.)

I do know that a large number of people in the Republican Party are silently hoping that someone takes Huckabee out because he's got a snowball's chance in -- well, you know where -- of winning a general election. I just wonder if Romney -- with his central-casting image and those dignified silver sideburns -- is the guy to do it. I'd expect old-fashioned political brawling to be more convincing coming from Giuliani.

Further, the spot itself seems lacking in focus. It starts with a pro-life, anti-gay-marriage message (to establish his religious bonafides, no doubt and possibly to give the appearance that this isn't an attack ad) before calling Huckabee soft on crime.

Listen up, Romney: If you're going to join a brawl, you come out swinging fast and hard with everything you got. Bring a roll of quarters and some brass knuckles. Pulling your punches isn't going to get the job done.