McCain, Huckabee in Crosshairs of New Romney Ads

By Theresa Cook

Dec 28, 2007 11:26am

ABC News’ Matt Stuart Reports:  Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney launched new television ads in New Hampshire and Iowa Friday, attacking rivals Sen. John McCain and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.

"John McCain, an honorable man.  But is he the right Republican for the future?" an announcer asks in an ominous tone at the start of the New Hampshire ad (watch HERE).

The ad then calls into question McCain’s record on cutting taxes and on illegal immigration, saying the Arizona senator voted against the Bush tax cuts and sought amnesty for illegal immigrants.

In contrast, the ad says only vaguely that Romney "cut taxes and spending as Governor" and "opposes amnesty."

Presenting this as a "contrast," the ad doesn’t make any specific conclusions, ending only by stating, "Mitt Romney. John McCain.  There is a difference."

Appearing on the cable news show "Fox and Friends" via satellite from Iowa Friday morning, McCain tore down the Romney ad’s assertions, saying, "Look, on the issue of immigration, my position is clear: We have to secure the borders, the borders have to be secured first." 

He went on to describe his plan for combating illegal immigration, including involving border state governors and a implementing a temporary worker program as part of a comprehensive plan.

McCain also accused Romney of increasing taxes during his tenure as governor. 

"I don’t know how to respond to a lot of his charges because tomorrow he may have a different position. … [Governor Romney has changed positions] on every issue, it’s a matter of record. And I haven’t changed," McCain charged.

Romney has recently begun going after McCain on the stump in New Hampshire. 

The former Massachusetts governor had enjoyed a sizable lead in the polls in New Hampshire for months, but has recently seen McCain gaining strength back in the Granite State after stumbling early in his campaign.

A recent Boston Globe poll, however, showed the two candidates statistically tied for the lead in the state.

Another Romney campaign ad, entitled "Ready," launched in Iowa Friday, challenging Huckabee on his record (watch HERE).

"Mike Huckabee?  Soft on government spending.  He grew a $6 billion government into a $16 billion government," the ad says.

"Backed in-state tuition benefits for illegals, and granted 1,033 pardons and commutations, including 12 murderers."

The ad also references comments Huckabee made on the Bush administration’s foreign policy stance, which Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called "ludicrous."

The ad follows a recent ad the Romney campaign aired in Iowa recently, assailing Huckabee on illegal immigration.  Huckabee has maintained his lead in the polls in the state.

During McCain’s Friday morning TV appearance, he noted that Romney seems to be targeting his campaign, as well as Huckabee’s.  "If there’s any doubt that we’re doing well, it’s when Mitt Romney starts attacking. He’s attacking Huckabee out here in Iowa. I’m familiar with tailspins and I think he’s in one."

Romney is scheduled the next six days — leading up to the caucuses — in Iowa.

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