Do Two Negatives Make a Positive?

Dec 28, 2007 11:36pm

ABC News’s Bret Hovell reports: Senator John McCain weighed-in an ongoing back and forth between his campaign and that of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney Friday night, responding to Romney’s assertion that a new McCain ad was "nasty" and "mean-spirited," and that it constituted a personal attack.

"Look I know these campaigns are wearing, they’re tough. I’ve been in them before," McCain said, when told of Romney’s words.

"Try to relax, Mitt," McCain said with a laugh.

The back and forth started Friday morning. The Romney campaign released a television ad about McCain that was widely considered to be negative in tone. At an afternoon press conference, McCain took issue with the content of the ad, which he said was inaccurate.

"We will respond and we have to respond," McCain said. "But we will conduct this campaign in a dignified manner on the issues."

"The people of New Hampshire, I would like to tell Governor Romney and others, don’t respond favorably to negative ad campaigns…" McCain continued. "We won’t engage in that kind campaigning now will we stoop to responding to a lot of it."

But a few hours later came McCain’s response, which did have a negative tone. The McCain team launched a TV ad, titled "Consider," McCain’s team pulls quotes from the New Hampshire Union-Leader, which endorsed McCain, and from the Concord Monitor which wrote a scathing anti-Romney editorial last week.

"If a candidate is a phony…we’ll know it," McCain’s ad says, quoting the Monitor. "Mitt Romney is such a candidate."

That’s when Romney fired back calling McCain’s ad negative. (You can judge for yourself by viewing the ad here.)

"I’ve just seen the text of his ad and it is obvious of a very different nature," Romney said aboard his campaign’s press bus in western Iowa. "It’s an attack ad. It attacks me personally."

Back to McCain.

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