Restore Our Future, a super PAC supporting frontrunning GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, continued a feud between Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Thursday, releasing an ad seeking to remind voters in South Carolina and Florida of Gingrich's baggage -- again.
The ad's narrator cites a variety of conservative sources that have called such attacks "foolish," "out of bounds" and "disgusting," before going on to paint Gingrich, who finished fourth in this week's New Hampshire primary, as a desperate candidate willing to throw anything at Romney in order to stay alive in the race.
"Newt attacks because he has more baggage than the airlines," the narrator reads. "Newt was fined $300,000 for ethics violations, took $1.6 million from Freddie Mac and co-sponsored a bill with Nancy Pelosi that would have given $60 million a year to a U.N program supporting China's brutal one-child policy."
All things considered, it's a fairly standard attack ad, though that may be because the benchmark for negative ads has been raised recently as the candidates jockey for position ahead of next Saturday's South Carolina primary.
On Wednesday, Winning Our Future, a super PAC supporting Gingrich, released a 28-minute long negative documentary against Romney, focused solely on the impacts of the former Massachusetts governor's role at Bain.
Gingrich is now threatening to sue any station in South Carolina and Florida that airs the ad. His campaign is claiming that the spot's attack on Gingrich being "fined $300,000 for ethics violations" constitutes an incorrect and "defamatory communication."
"Newt Gingrich has put Mitt Romney's SuperPAC on notice that the free ride they have enjoyed to misstate Newt's record are over," Stefan Passantino, an attorney for the campaign, told NBC Politics. "Discussing true facts concerning one's record are fine, using SuperPAC funds to mislead voters will no longer be tolerated."
Gingrich's camp maintains that the sum the then-Speaker was forced to pay in 1997 was not actually a "fine," but rather a reimbursement fee meant to pay back legal costs mounted during the House Ethics Committee investigation.
A lawyer for Restore Our Future told NBC that the Gingrich campaign's complaints are meritless.
"Although it is understandable that Mr. Gingrich wishes that he wasn't the only Speaker of the House in history to be fined (overwhelmingly by a bipartisan Congress) $300,000 for ethics violations, that is nonetheless his baggage to live with," attorney Charles Spies wrote in a letter to the network managers.
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