Newt Gingrich was off his game in Thursday's Florida debate. According to news reports he was floored by Mitt Romney's "dishonesty" during the debate:
Gingrich charged that Romney was lying when he said he didn’t know about an ad his campaign is running that accuses Gingrich of calling Spanish a “ghetto” language. The former speaker charged that Romney also lied when he explained that the only reason he voted for the late former Sen. Paul Tsongas in the 1992 Democratic presidential primary was because there was not a Republican contest that year.Wolf Blitzer returned from a break in the debate and informed Romney that his researchers had found the ad which Romney denied with the tag line "I'm Mitt Romney and I approve this message."
Gingrich responded to Romney's false statements with an ad on Friday:
The problem is that few people are likely to see the ad. Mitt Romney has pumped massive amounts of money into the Florida campaign. The following from ABC News:
Mike Huckabee (in 2007 campaign ad): "If a man's dishonest to obtain a job, he'll be dishonest on the job."
Narrator: "What kind of man would mislead, distort and deceive just to win an election. This man would. Mitt Romney. Romney said he has always voted Republican when he had the opportunity. But in the 1992 Massachusetts primary, Romney had the chance to vote for George H.W. Bush or Pat Buchanan, but he voted for a liberal Democrat instead. Romney said his investments in Fannie and Freddie were in a blind trust. But as reported in the National Journal, Romney earned tens of thousands of dollars from investments not in a blind trust. Romney denied seeing a false ad his campaign used to attack Newt Gingrich. But Romney's own campaign paid for the ad, and Romney's own voice is on the ad approving its false content. If we can't trust what Mitt Romney says about his own record, how can we trust him on anything?"
Newt Gingrich is not just getting outspent by Mitt Romney and his allies on the Florida airwaves, he’s getting creamed.It's no surprise that with that amount of money Romney is recapturing the lead in Florida polls he lost after Newt won South Carolina. With Rick Santorum remaining in the race the conservative vote is split giving Romney the edge.
The Romney campaign and a super PAC supporting him is spending nearly quadruple the amount that Gingrich and the pro-Gingrich super PAC, Winning Our Future, has spent to air television and radio ads ahead of the state’s Jan. 31 primary.
So far, Romney has bought $5.6 million worth of airtime and the pro-Romney super PAC, Restore Our Future, has shelled out a whopping $8.2 million, according to a Republican media buyer who is tracking ad spending in the state.
Compare that to $837,000 spent by the Gingrich campaign and the nearly $3 million of airtime bought by Winning Our Future, a super PAC supporting the former House speaker, and it’s easy to understand one reason why Gingrich has slipped in the most recent polls in the Sunshine State.
Pro-Romney forces are using the vast majority of the $13.9 million they’ve spent to buy up television airtime on broadcast stations in the Miami, Tampa and Orlando areas – population centers that will be critical to the former Massachusetts governor’s hopes of winning the state.
Still, Gingrich is the current favorite in national polls. But with Romney's money advantage will Gingrich be able to continue the race much beyond Florida?