I've talked to many moms who say that attack ads disgust them, but the fact is, they work. Most pundits agree that Newt Gingrich lost his lead in Iowa because of attack ads launched against him by Romney backers, along with the fact that Gingrich refused to retaliate with attack ads of his own.
Another concern is over the Supreme Court's recent campaign finance ruling, which makes it possible for corporations to finance these ads. The thought of wealthy corporate interests having a major impact in the outcome of the presidential election is disturbing to many Americans.
You're only going to be seeing more of these ads as we get closer to Election Day, so we thought now is as good a time as any to ask this question to our political bloggers:
Who gets hurt most by negative campaign ads?
And now, a quick primer on negative campaign ads for those of you who haven't kept up with the issue.
The Christian Science Monitor does a great job of explaining the Supreme Court's campaign finance ruling in this article. Check it out and you'll be able to discuss the issue like a pro.
Next, I highly recommend that you read this article from the New York Times, which tells you how the ruling is affecting Mitt Romney's campaign, as an example. Here's a quote from the article, detailing how the attack ads that brought down Newt Gingrich were funded:
The ads, which continue to blanket Iowa days before the caucuses here, were created and paid for by people with deep knowledge of the Romney campaign’s strategic thinking, close relationships with Mr. Romney’s most generous donors, and even research on what television viewers like and dislike most about Mr. Romney himself.
Yet neither Mr. Romney nor his staff has had to lift a finger or spend a dollar to make it happen. In a stark illustration of how last year’s landmark Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance has created powerful new channels for outside money to influence elections, the negative onslaught is the work of a group called Restore Our Future.
Here's one of Restore Our Future's ads:
And here's an ad from Ron Paul, going after candidate Rick Santorum:
I addressed the issue in a recent column for the Huffington Post. This is what I had to say on the matter:
There's nothing that turns a mother off faster than an attack ad. We teach our own children to take the high road and never badmouth the competition, and we wish politicians would do the same. "'Proving' your opponent is inept doesn't make you qualified!" summarized mother-of-five Shannon Eidson on my Facebook page recently. Exactly.
Here's what our political bloggers have to say on the subject:
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