Monday, January 12, 2015

Let the negative campaigning begin!

The New York Times reports on former Senator Rick Santorum's attacks against some of the other (potential) Republican candidates:

Discussing [Mike] Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and winner of the 2008 Iowa caucuses, Mr. Santorum raised four policy issues that he said would prompt questions about Mr. Huckabee’s fealty to conservative principles. Mr. Santorum was even harsher when discussing [Rand] Paul of Kentucky and [Ted] Cruz of Texas, both first-term senators, dismissing them as “bomb throwers” with scant achievements. . . .

The criticisms . . . illustrate the two simultaneous campaigns already taking shape. While former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and perhaps [Mitt] Romney begin vying for commitments from center-right contributors, elected officials and activists, a parallel race is taking place among more conservative contenders including Mr. Santorum, Mr. Huckabee and the two senators.

Already, there is notably less restraint in the language used by the more conservative aspirants than in the public statements from the establishment-backed potential candidates.

“Do we really want someone with this little experience?” Mr. Santorum asked, referring to Mr. Paul, Mr. Cruz and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who is also in his first term. “And the only experience they have basically — not Rubio, but Cruz and Paul because I don’t think Rubio is going to go — is bomb throwing? Do we really want somebody who’s a bomb thrower, with no track record of any accomplishments?”

Mr. Paul’s top strategist responded that the party should not take advice from a politician who was soundly defeated in 2006.

“Senator Santorum lost re-election in [Pennsylvania] by 18 points nearly a decade ago, and has spent the time since then trying to convince people to elect him to an even higher office than the one he was booted out of,” said Doug Stafford, senior adviser to Mr. Paul. “We will pass on responding to his alleged wisdom.”