December 11th, 2007
04:30 PM ET
13 years ago

Battle for GOP nomination gets bloodier

The Republican candidates are taking the gloves off.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Republican presidential race continued its brutal turn Tuesday in key early primary states, with Mitt Romney's campaign leading the pack.

The former Massachusetts governor’s campaign kept up its assault on Mike Huckabee’s immigration record, following on its Monday release of a negative Iowa ad with a new mailer in South Carolina that took aim at the rest of the major GOP contenders.

The Romney mailer was the first negative drop from any presidential campaign in that state.

The literature blasts former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for allegedly turning a blind eye on immigration enforcement during his tenure, and accuses former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson of inaction on the issue.

Huckabee comes in for special criticism, receiving a big red stamp of disapproval reading, "Supports De Facto Amnesty."

Recent polls have shown that immigration is a top concern for Republicans in both Iowa and South Carolina. Much of the information in the mailer was also sent to national reporters covering the presidential campaign.

Meanwhile, Thompson – who yesterday attacked Huckabee for his past support for lifting the embargo on Cuba – again criticized the new top-tier candidate, with a release that managed to take a swipe at Romney as well. Titled “Huckabee Takes a Page From the Romney Playbook,” it accused Huckabee of reversing his position on the embargo.

Recent polls have shown Huckabee surging to the front of the presidential primary field.

- CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Fred Thompson • Iowa • Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney • Rudy Giuliani • South Carolina
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Reality Check

    Thompson is taking swipes at candidates?

    Ha ha – thanks for the laughs! Everyone BUT Thompson must know that he is yesterdays news. Isn't it about time for Law and Order to start filming again? Thompson needs to gracefully bow out – he doesn't have a shot!

    December 11, 2007 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  2. Christine, Burke, VA

    Romney - such a Christian, leading the Republicans with negative attacks. Oh brother.

    December 11, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  3. Trevor, Austin, TX

    It is a shame that the Republicans are now lowering themselves to the same level as the Democrats. I am an independent who has watched with distaste as the Democrats have bloodied themselves against each other. Love them or hate them, at least the Republicans have stayed away from that kind of negative campaign against each other, until now. Can anyone not stand on their record alone?

    December 11, 2007 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  4. Darth Vadik, Glendora CA

    This patheic neanderthal group of white old guys are trying to out-do each other on who can take us to war first.

    Have these guys answered any questions on the economy, or healthcare, or education, trade with other nations (are they for free trade agreements or back to tarrifs?), anybody, anybody.

    but no...




    They should go back to their own homes, flexing their mussles in front of their mirrors, and leave running this country to sane people.

    December 11, 2007 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  5. Dan, Illinois

    Tom Tancredo is the only one who will do anything about stopping illegal immigration. He is the only one who boycotted the Univision GOP Debate and he has won my respect because of it. TOM TANCREDO 08!!

    December 11, 2007 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  6. Derek, Honolulu HI

    Ron Paul will own all these fools. He is the only conservative in the race.

    December 11, 2007 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  7. Carol Bush, Oakwood, GA

    Go ahead – vote for Huckabee, and make SURE that we have another President Clinton. Please! McCain is the only candidate capable of being elected President.

    December 11, 2007 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  8. Eric, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Tancredo and Paul certainly win the xenophobic block. Among the others, the immigration distinctions are mostly imaginary, and I favor the one candidate who has made a solid effort to find a consensus solution to this long ignored problem. Simplify it if you wish and paint the people and the solutions as caricatures, but deportation of millions is not realistic, and we need greater legal immigration, so allowing productive family values workers a chance at visas makes sense. And independents want consensus more than divisive deadlock in DC. Those supporting slick politicians like Romney ignore this at all of our risk. A candidate who has the substance to win over moderates is much more likely to beat the Dems.

    December 11, 2007 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  9. Dustin, WA

    It is a shame that the Republicans are now lowering themselves to the same level as the Democrats. I am an independent who has watched with distaste as the Democrats have bloodied themselves against each other. Love them or hate them, at least the Republicans have stayed away from that kind of negative campaign against each other, until now. Can anyone not stand on their record alone?
    Posted By Trevor, Austin, TX : December 11, 2007 5:55 pm

    Trevor, I do agree with you to a point. What many do not realize, as polls will attest is that Huckabee, is what is at stake here. Huck is a great speaker, and a genuinely nice person, but his resume and decision making ability should scare people!!

    He is cruzing right now for the wrong reasons that many I fear will not figure out. I wish that Romney's camp was not airing an ad which attacks Huck, but people need to know that it is reality.

    I think Romney's camp, as well as others are scared and I what else can Romney's camp to for example, than go at Huckabee's real weakness.

    Wake up and smell the coffee, people..I am not saying you must vote Romney, but keep in mind we are looking for success, for real change...for control with taxes and spending!!! People need to look at Huck more closely, I guess right now it is mainly the evangelicals latching on.

    December 11, 2007 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  10. brandon of Los Angeles, CA


    I'm sick and tired of this sensationalized journalism. Yes, putting bloodiest in a headline makes it more likely someone will click on it. But it is also misleading. Stop it.

    December 11, 2007 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  11. Michael Columbus, In

    i love this pic of the repubs. after 231 years of freedem and progress, the only thing that the republican party can offer the us is a bunch of white guys with grey hair and black suits.

    gee, that's unique.

    December 11, 2007 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |

    Freddie's got a gun, dog days just begun!

    Huck's gonna quarantine you!

    Romney has a new magazine subscription!

    Rudy knows how to get his girl taken care of!

    Who will win this week's Battle of the Wannabes? Tune in next week, when Obama has a secret lunch with Hillary!

    December 11, 2007 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  13. John Allen, Boston MA

    There's nothing wrong with drawing attention to a candidate's negative record. Voters deserve to know everything they can about a candidate. Please, give me a break and quit trying to harras Mitt over this. All the candidate's (the good ones) do this. Who cares if he's the first to do it in South Carolina. Mitt Romney is the strongest candidate in the field, and he has my vote.

    December 11, 2007 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  14. Karen Houston TX

    I find it interesting that Romney tells the truth about Huckabee's record and it is considered an "attack".

    Hey Folks. . . Huckabee's record IS NEGATIVE! Should Romney have "made up" something nice to inform you with. Get real! Huckabee is still supporting his push to provide special scholarships for the children of illegals. His 9 point program spelled backwards is A-M-N-E-S-T-Y! Or didn't you notice?
    This is an important issue to me. We are being overrun with the illegal population here in Texas. Someone needs to do something about it once and for all!

    Not three weeks ago, Huckabee's quote was, "Open borders, open arms" Please don't vote for this traitor.

    -Romney 2008

    December 12, 2007 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  15. Rick, Chicago Illinois

    Dan, Illinois

    You hate illegals so much you're casting your vote for Tancredo?

    Does Tancredo have anything else to offer?

    Or do you even care?

    December 12, 2007 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  16. PW Va

    This photo alone explains what's WRONG with America at this juncture...IT'S NOT REPRESENTATIVE OF ALL OF AMERICA...and as long as we continue to place the same type of individuals in seats of power we are going to continue to get the same results (and we'll deserve exactly what we elect). Not one of these guys has a clue about what one day in the life of an average American is all about.

    December 12, 2007 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  17. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The Republicans are going to bloody themselves so badly that the nominee could be too weak to face the Democrat nominee. That would be the best for the country. Honestly, Ron Paul doesn't seem to handle foreign policy questions with enough openess to ideas; his idealism doesn't work since we still have fossil fuel interests. Tancredo and Hunter are one issue candidates; immigration and trade with China respectively. Rudy might as well run as a Democrat because he could be seen as more liberal/progressive that some Democrats. There is concern that Romney and Huckabee could be John Kerry all over again - flip floppers. With repesct to ages, McCain and Thompson are not spring chickens any more, are they? I believe that both would be older than Ronald Reagan when they enter office. The other questions is: are they conservative enough to fit most people's expectation of what a conservative should be?

    December 12, 2007 10:04 am at 10:04 am |


    December 12, 2007 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |