It’s on to New Hampshire for at least some of the Republican presidential candidates, and The Associated Press reports that Newt Gingrich will take out a full-page ad in the New Hampshire Union Leader Wednesday contrasting himself as a “bold Reagan conservative” against Mitt Romney, who he labels a “timid Massachusetts moderate.”
Gingrich, who finished fourth in Iowa with about 13 percent of the caucus support, has vowed to run a positive campaign, even as he watched his poll numbers decline in Iowa in the midst of an attack campaign sponsored by a pro-Romney political action committee.
Gingrich seemed to indicate his New Hampshire ads, which were to include TV ads, would not overtly contradict his no-attack-ad pledge, but added: “If the truth seems negative, that may be more of a comment on [Romney’s] record than it is on politics.”
On Tuesday, the former House speaker was clear to congratulate former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Texas Rep. Ron Paul on their strong finishes in Iowa. But he failed to do so when referring to Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, who essentially tied Santorum for first place.
“We’ll have one other great debate and that is whether this party wants a Reagan conservative who helped change Washington in the 1980’s with Ronald Reagan, and helped change Washington in the 1990s as speaker of the House, somebody who is into changing Washington,” Gingrich told Iowa supporters Tuesday night.
“Or do we want a Massachusetts moderate, who in fact will be pretty good at managing the decay, but has given no evidence in his years as governor of Massachusetts of any ability to change the culture or change the political structure or change the government,” said Gingrich.
Santorum sent an email to supporters just before midnight calling his strong showing against Romney an “Iowa surprise,” and asking for donations to fuel a long campaign run.
“The next test is New Hampshire … a state Mitt Romney has campaigned in for over four years. This is why I need your immediate support,” Santorum’s letter said.
Romney remained optimistic.
“On to New Hampshire. Let’s get that job done!” said Romney, rallying supporters as he signed off from his Iowa headquarters in Des Moines.
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who skipped the Iowa caucuses (although he got more than 700 votes, less than 1 percent), was already in New Hampshire. He’s campaigned constantly in the Granite State, but would begin sharing the state’s spotlight again come Wednesday.