Amanda Carpenter

DES MOINES, IOWA--Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said he would “absolutely” continue running negative advertisements against his adversaries as the election continues.

Romney said this at a campaign rally at Principle Financial building in downtown Des Moines when a questioner asked if he planned to keep going negative on opponents

Romney said he would not attack anyone’s character, but he would be “forthright about differences on issues” like taxes, immigration and crime with this Republican opponents. “Part of politics and a good campaign is defining those differences,” he said.

In Iowa, Romney has been running television advertisements that detail the pardons and commutations his top Iowan rival Mike Huckabee issued as Governor of Arkansas. In New Hampshire, Romney has been jabbing GOP presidential candidate John McCain over the Arizona senator’s opposition to the Bush tax cuts and support for comprehensive immigration reform.

Romney hasn’t been hitting Huckabee and McCain unprompted. Yesterday, the Drudge Report promoted a front-page story that contained a quote from a senior Huckabee advisor saying he wanted to “knock Romney’s teeth out” and McCain has been running hard-hitting ads in New Hampshire that questions Romney’s foreign policy credentials.

If he wins the Republican nomination for President, Romney said he looked forward to doing the same to his Democratic opponent.

“I look forward to a debate with Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama or John Edwards,” Romney said. “I can’t wait for that chance because where they are on issues is not where the country wants to head and where they’ve been on their record is not where America would be proud to go again.”

While walking out of the building, a Principle Financial employee told me she was unimpressed with Romney’s rhetoric. “You know what he needs to do?” she told me. “Stop going negative and present his own plans. I’m sick of it,” she said.

Amanda Carpenter

Amanda Carpenter is the author of “The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy's Dossier on Hillary Clinton,” published in October 2006.
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