CHARLESTON, South Carolina — The assault on Newt Gingrich’s character began in early December and was as methodical as it was merciless.
In the month before Iowa’s presidential caucuses on Jan. 3, Republicans in the Hawkeye State couldn’t turn on a television, open a newspaper or listen to their radios without being confronted with negative advertising depicting the former House Speaker as nothing less than a lying, cheating, mean mistreating, good-for-nothing Washington insider.
Some of the ads came courtesy of Texas Congressman Ron Paul’s campaign, others from Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
But the overwhelming majority — more than $4 million worth — was produced and paid for by a political action committee called Restore Our Future, operated by deep-pocketed friends and former aides to Mitt Romney.
“Newt has more baggage than the airlines,” the announcer said in one of the anti-Gingrich spots.
“Watching local newscasts, it was just one negative ad after another,” says Dennis Goldford, a political-science professor at Drake University in the Iowa capital of Des Moines. “Gingrich just got washed away by this tsunami of negative ads.”
As it was in Iowa, so it is in South Carolina.