Mitt Romney’s pulling out all the stops against new Iowa front-runner Newt Gingrich.
In a new ad aptly titled “Leader,” Romney takes a shot at Gingrich’s personal history, without once mentioning his opponent by name.
Amid a backdrop of Romney with his family, the ad features a clip of the former Massachusetts governor from the Nov. 9 CNBC debate, talking about his “steadiness and constancy.”
“I’ve been married to the same woman for 25 – excuse me, I’ll get in trouble – for 42 years,” Romney says in the ad. “I’ve been in the same church my entire life. I worked at one company, Bain, for 25 years. And I left that to go off and help save the Olympic Games.”
The ad never mentions Gingrich, but it makes it clear that Romney is the candidate who has been happily married for 42 years, versus Gingrich, who has been married three times.
And then there’s the sledgehammer line: “If I’m president of the United States, I will be true to my family.”
The ad is clearly targeted toward Iowa and New Hampshire social conservatives, many of whom are leery of Gingrich’s personal history. He’s twice divorced and has admitted to having an extramarital affair while married to wife No. 2.
And there’s another swipe: “I’ve been in the same church my entire life.”
Gingrich has had two conversions. He was raised a Lutheran, but became a Southern Baptist in graduate school and then converted to Catholicism a few years ago.
Romney takes a page from Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s playbook, who has repeatedly spoken about his faith in ads.
Perry opens his newest ad, released today, with the line, “I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian.”
The inclusion of faith in TV ads is no surprise, given that religion has been a powerful force on the 2012 campaign trail.
Romney distinguished his leadership style from Gingrich again in an interview today, telling the Washington Examiner that he and the former Speaker are “about as different as two people you can find when it comes to the qualities of leading the country.”
Romney’s ad, which will run in Iowa and New Hampshire, also marks Ann Romney’s official rollout.
The campaign has been planning to carve out a more prominent role for her and the television ad, which features her heavily, puts her front and center.
She campaigned in New Hampshire Tuesday, meeting with grassroots activists at a local eatery. Later that day, she sent out a fundraising email on behalf of her husband, inviting supporters to donate as little as $5 to win the chance to get “a bite with Mitt.”
She sat down for an interview with Fox News this morning, talking in both personal and political terms.
“It’s a good thing the guy doesn’t drink. He honestly is the life of the party,” Romney said of her husband. “If people could see the other side of Mitt, they would not believe it.”
She also added that she was the one who “made the decision this time” for her husband to run for president.
“Mitt was more reluctant about going forward this time and I said, ‘You know what? The country needs you.’ I really believe America will lose if Mitt Romney loses,” she said. “Mitt Romney wins, America wins. Mitt Romney loses, America loses.”