By Wolf Blitzer, CNN
Get ready for a really ugly general election presidential campaign.
The negative ads are going to be intense no matter who wins the Republican nomination.
If you had any doubts about the effectiveness of negative attack ads, just take a look at what has happened in Iowa these past few weeks. The anti-Newt Gingrich attack ads were non-stop. When I was in Iowa this week, I couldn’t watch TV without seeing Gingrich pummeled. They came from the pro-Mitt Romney super PACs and from the Ron Paul and Rick Perry campaigns. They were powerful and effective. They worked in helping to collapse Gingrich’s momentum in only a few weeks.
The former House Speaker tried to take the high road and refused to take the bait. He didn’t fight back with his own attacks. That was clearly a mistake.
Only this week, during an interview with me in Dubuque, Iowa, did he start to push back against Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. He blasted both of them. But this is very late in the Iowa game.
Once the Republican dust settles, we will see the Republican groups begin to launch their attack ads against President Obama. They will be fierce.
The Obama re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee have already started their own attacks against Romney. They assume he has the best chance of winning the GOP nomination. They also think he has the best chance potentially of defeating the president.
The bottom line: If the Republican and Democratic political strategists weren’t convinced before Iowa, they are certainly now. Go negative early and often.
This is going to be a very nasty and ugly – and probably personal – campaign. Both sides will be ferocious and non-stop in their attacks. We should get ready for that.
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