It has been revealed today that ad spending for Super Tuesday alone has reached $10million. Mitt Romney has spent approximately $6.3million on negative ads, and it is estimated that $16.4million has been invested on negative ads alone by the Restore Our Future campaign, a Super Political Action committee overseen by former Romney advisers. Super PACs have the freedom to spend an unlimited amount on advertising under the condition that they do not directly converse with the candidate. Although it has been pointed out that Clinton and Obama viciously attacked each other in the Democratic race of 2008, the harshest of comments are usually saved for the general election. The ‘Restore Our Future’ campaign has chosen to attack fellow Republicans, sending out messages which claim that ‘Newt Gingrich has more baggage than the airport’. The aggressive style of the Romney campaign has been on display in several made for Web videos discussing Barack Obama’s leadership, it has also created trending topics on Twitter to attack Gingrich such as #grandiosenewt.
As Super Tuesday approaches, the American public are faced with relentless television ads of merciless attacks between candidates. The smear campaign of other candidates may provoke voters into reassessing their chosen candidate for the nominee, however Romney has come under attack for using such brutality in order to win back support. It may be debated whether attack ads destroy a pre existing expectation of a candidate’s character, as many are disappointed in Romney’s message. One user of The New York Times related the issue to Romney’s Mormon faith, commenting ‘I wonder if the Book of Mormon includes the parable about “those who live by the sword, die by the sword” ?’ Due to the mass of negativity in the GOP, it should be considered that these attack ads may fall on deaf, disinterested ears.
Sticks and stones, they say. What if the candidates own words can break their reputations among voters? Do attack ads really tell us about a candidates character? In an fragmented electorate all that can be said is desperate times call for desperate measures.