Mitt Romney’s campaign has been moving negative on Newt for well over a week with a strategy to portray Newt as crazy, but since Romney’s debate debacle Saturday night and more polling showing Newt with a crushing lead almost everywhere, the Romney campaign now is completely negative.

And as I predicted, Romney is leaving it to interviews and attack ads, having failed to confront Newt in any meaningful manner face-to-face at the debate.

Today Romney demanded that Newt give back the consulting money he earned from Freddie Mac.

Unfortunately, while still saying he would try to remain positive, Newt took some of Romney’s bait and fired back that he’d consider it if Romney returned all the money Romney made off of bankrupt companies.  I think Newt doesn’t need to go there, and I bet Romney would be willing to bet $10,000 Newt regrets falling for Romney’s negative trap.

Romney also is keeping up his strategy of crazy, launching a new website devoted entirely to calling Newt “unreliable.”

No one should be surprised, because the Romney campaign turned all negative early on during the 2008 election cycle when Romney failed to connect with voters.  It’s no coincidence that’s it’s happening again, Michael Scherer predicted Mitt Romney’s Return to Negativeland several days ago:

The negative spots have already started showing up, and in a matter of days they will be ubiquitous for the poor souls trying to watch the evening news in Iowa and New Hampshire. Because of recent changes in campaign finance regulation, the onslaught may even be greater and nastier than years past because candidates will have some distance from the Super PAC attacks on their behalf.

What’s interesting about Romney’s expected turn to the dark side is how much it resembles what was happening in Iowa and New Hampshire in December of 2008 [sic – 2007]. Then Romney was facing an apparent surge in the polls by Mike Huckabee in Iowa and John McCain in Massachusetts. The Romney response was nothing less than Spy
vs. Spy or Hatfield vs. McCoy.

Here are two examples linked by Scherer of anti-Huckabee and anti-McCain ads run by Romney.  We’ll see if it works this time.