Newt Gingrich supporter Fred Thompson lambasted front-runner Mitt Romney for his attack ads against the former House speaker.
Thompson, a Republican and former Tennessee governor, said Sunday morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Romney’s strategy “is to play Mr. Nice Guy until somebody gets close to him. And then he unleashes his attack machine. And that’s what happened in Iowa, and it’s what’s happening in Florida.”
Thompson criticized campaign staffers for former Massachusetts Gov. Romney, noting that a New York Times article
chronicles their “patting themselves on the back, talking about how mean and down they are. How they've got Matt Drudge in their back pocket. And how Romney is in on all of it."
That Times article includes this quote from John Rood, chairman of Romney’s Florida finance team: “We had a moment where we kind of started drinking our own Kool-Aid, and it looked like we were just going to blow through it. There is a little humility in getting your butt kicked in South Carolina, and all of the sudden it’s a wake-up call.”
After the South Carolina jolt, the Times reports, “A team of some of the most fearsome researchers in the business, led by Mr. Romney’s campaign manager, Matt Rhoades, spent days dispensing negative information about Mr. Gingrich, much of it finding its way to the influential Drudge Report, which often serves as a guide for conservative talk radio and television assignment editors and to which Mr. Rhoades has close ties.
“The effort hit a peak by Thursday, when the site was virtually taken over by headlines assailing Mr. Gingrich, whose advisers said they eventually gave up on trying to persuade the Drudge staff to spare them, acknowledging, in the words of one aide, that ‘very little can be done.’ ” according to the Times report.
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