Republican presidential candidates Rep. Ron Paul, of Texas and former… (Charlie Neibergall/AFP/Getty…)
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman on Tuesday illustrated one of the time-tested adages of politics: When you have nothing left to lose, it is time to take the low road and attack -- but always aim high.
In separate videos, Paul, the darling of the libertarian movement, and Republican Huntsman, who is pitching himself as the thinking man’s conservative, went after Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, respectively. Perry ranks at the top of most polls, having displaced Romney, who was formerly No. 1 in the race for the GOP nomination to face President Obama.
Despite his wealth and foreign policy credentials, Huntsman has been struggling to get beyond the margin of error in most polls. Paul, who has a solid and enthusiastic following, is a more serious contender, having placed second in the Ames, Iowa, straw poll. He has bounced up and down in most national polls, but has stayed in the top tier among the candidates at around 10%.
In his video, Paul goes after fellow Texan Perry, calling him a cheerleader for former Vice President Al Gore, a Nobel Prize-winner for his work on global warming. In the circles in which Paul moves, it is hard to imagine a less veiled insult than lumping Perry in with Gore.
Perry’s support for Gore was in 1988 when Gore was a politically upwardly mobile senator from Tennessee and Perry was a Democrat in state Legislature. Paul's ad attacks Perry for serving as chairman of Gore's Texas campaign, accusing him of being “Al Gore's Texas cheerleader.” “Rick Perry helped lead Al Gore's campaign to undo the Reagan revolution, fighting to elect Al Gore president of the United States,” according to the ad, which reminds viewers that Paul stood right beside Reagan on most issues.
Perry had a change of heart and party in 1990.
In his video, Huntsman goes after Romney, who is scheduled to release his job creation proposals later on Tuesday.
“As the conservative governor of Utah, Jon Huntsman quietly, thoughtfully led Utah to leading the nation in job creation,” says the narrator . “About the same time, another governor led Massachusetts,” the narrator continues, “led them close to the very bottom.”
The punchline: “Who can we trust to create jobs where Obama has failed? #1? Or #47?”