Attack Strategies: Mitt vs. McCain & Huck

Mitt Romney has been criticized by many for his attack ads that point out the policy differences between himself and both Mike Huckabee and John McCain. Mitt’s strategy has been to avoid attacking other candidates personally; e.g. no name calling or cheap shots at their personal lives. He intends to keep his ‘attacks’ at a very mild level. In fact Mitt’s attacks have been so mild that they can barely be considered attacks, a more accurate term would be ‘comparison ads’.

As a result of these ads that Mitt has put out, John McCain and Mike Huckabee (or their respective campaigns) can’t seem to control their anger. Rather than simply refute Mitt’s claims or by creating an attack ad criticizing Mitt’s stances issues, they resorted to name calling and even wishing to inflict physical harm (of course said in jest).

John McCain, well known for a fiery temper, has been the most proactive in attacking Mitt Romney. His ads attack Mitt as a flip-flopper and a phony (nevermind that McCain has flipped far more than Mitt). In one interview he even called Romney a Pig.

Mike Huckabee has attempted to avoid the mire of attack ads, but his attempt is futile. His campaign has also called Mitt a phony and who can forget his ‘innocent’ question about the LDS belief that Jesus and Satan are brothers? As if that were not a subtle jab at Mitt. Then, Huckabee creates an ad attacking Mitt on abortion over the past weekend. Apparently the ad was very harsh, and Huck decided not to air it…sort of. He disingenuously stands in front of the Media and says that he has decided to pull the attack ad from the air and will not release them, but then decided to allow the media to see the ad. Was this an attempt to for him to hit Mitt hard but come out looking scot clean? It appears so to me. Finally, Huckabee’s campaign manager one-up’d Huck by stating that he would like to “knock out Romney’s teeth.”

So what we have here are two candidates attacking one, with the one attacking the two. What’s the difference? Mitt’s attacks focus on factual information and stated policy beliefs of the respective candidate, while Huck’s and McCain’s attacks are personal and irresponsible. Their responses to Mitt’s attacks make them look like they can’t defend themselves against Mitt’s claims, so instead of addressing the issue, they resort to juvenile name calling and whining.

What I find most striking about all this, is that Mitt has yet to complain. He is attacked on all sides, including from the media (who just coincidentally seem to ignore the attacks from Huck and McCain), and he simply states the differences between his policies and the others’ policies and goes on his way. He has not called anyone any names, he has not accused Huck or John of flip-flopping (despite their MANY instances); no, he just continues on his confident course and strategy.

What is most frustrating is that of the three of these candidates, Mitt is running the cleanest campaign, yet we would not know it from what we hear from the media. Huckabee and McCain were given complete passes for their antics and inappropriate statements. The only conclusion I can come to is that the media does not want Mitt to win. Well, that just makes me want him to be our candidate even more. If the media hates him, he must be doing something right.

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Filed under Election 2008, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Politics, Republicans

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