Ron Paul's Attack Ads: Remarkable Evolution

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 12 2011 12:58 PM

Ron Paul's Attack Ads: Remarkable Evolution

The candidate who got the least time in the Saturday debate, despite being tied for second in the Iowa polls, unleashes another long web video composed of wince-inducing Newt Gingrich clips and Alex Proyas-worthy video production techniques.

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Paul's videos cause two reactions in the press corps. One: "Nice attack." Two: "When the hell did Paul get to be good at this?" The second question is the fun one for those of us who covered Paul's 2008 campaign. Delve into the archives and you will find "#1 for New Hampshire," the appropriately named ad that debuted Paul in the state where he hoped to perform the best.

Yes. Quite an evolution. As to the substance of the Gingrich hit... well, it's a lot of stuff that had already been on TV, but it's weaponized pretty effectively. How long will Gingrich's opponents get away with citing his ethics complaints from the 1990s? The conservative elite that welcomed Newt back in the Aughts had mostly forgiven him for that stuff, and Newt has long argued that the ethics investigations were 1) partisan and 2) only caught him on one count, a legal problem with a letter from his lawyer explaining why he would be able to collect a check from a book deal while serving in Congress.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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