(CNN) - The presidential candidates themselves may have taken most of the week off, but some independent groups have been busy as elves in the final days of the holiday season, making moves to support – or attack – their candidate of choice in Iowa.
The moves – which come with just over a week to go until the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses – may not be naughty. But most are certainly not nice.
Democrat Barack Obama, who spent the weekend making an issue independent groups running ads on his opponents’ behalf, may now have even more reason to gripe about third-party spending.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees - which is backing New York Sen. Hillary Clinton – launched a radio spot in Iowa and New Hampshire attacking the Illinois senator’s health care plan, and revealed plans to create a Web site and send out mailings opposing him.
Meanwhile, Democratic Courage, which was organized just this fall in opposition to Clinton’s White House bid, announced that it had finally raised enough to fund an ad buy on Iowa television attacking her candidacy. The group, which was founded by two supporters of former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, has also created holiday-themed Web ads attacking Obama.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney got an unwelcome holiday surprise of his own: a new group called American Right to Life launched ads on Iowa cable late last week attacking the Republican presidential candidate’s past position on abortion issues. Nearly 200 spots aired in just a few days – and this week, the group revealed they were planning to triple their ad buy.
And a conservative political action committee called RightMarch.com announced it was launching a mail effort opposing Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy.
Not every candidate got a lump of coal this holiday season. The National Rifle Association – which endorsed Democrat Bill Richardson during his last campaign, for governor of New Mexico – filed FEC paperwork announcing plans for a mailing in support of his presidential bid.