ABC News’ John Berman Reports: Let the record show that Mitt Romney is the first presidential candidate to run what his campaign calls a "contrast" ad, but what others call a "negative" ad.
The spot which starts airing Tuesday in Iowa is called "Choice: The Record," and takes aim at former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee who is now leading in Iowa polls.
The spot highlights Huckabee’s record on immigration saying he, "Supported in-state tuition benefits for illegal immigrants, " and "Huckabee even supported taxpayer-funded scholarships for illegal aliens."
The Romney campaign is clearly doing everything it can to draw attention to Huckabee’s record on immigration. In an interview with CBS’s Katie Couric, Romney said Huckabee is soft on criminals, soft on illegal aliens, and tough on taxpayers"
But what is most fascinating about the spot, is that it spends just as much time saying Mitt Romney is actually like Mike Huckabee as saying he is different.
"Two former governors, two good family men," it says "Both pro-life, both support a Constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage."
This seems to suggest the Romney campaign is wary of a frontal assault in Iowa, which is known to frown on negative campaigns. It also seems a tacit acknowledgement that Huckabee is appealing to "family values" voters and social conservatives. Romney’s ad seems to say "hey, I am just as good as the other guy."
For all the niceties in the spot, other campaigns are pouncing on the opportunity to call Romney negative. John McCain’s Iowa Chairman released a statement saying, "It’s particularly amazing that Governor Romney would attack anyone on immigration when he’s on his third position. …. I call on Governor Romney to drop his plans for this negative attack ."