Rick Santorum Scores Humorous Hit On Romney With New 'Rombo' Ad

The Santorum campaign uses Mitt Romney's negative tactics against him.

By + More

Former Sen. Rick Santorum's campaign and admaker John Brabender scored big time with the new ad parodying former Gov. Mitt Romney as a Rambo figure who fires mud at a cardboard cutout of Santorum.  The spot has started airing in Michigan and the campaign plans to air it in other upcoming primary states as well.

The message: Romney has nothing else to offer but negative attacks. It plays off the Romney advertising strategy employed not only against Santorum, but also against former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Mitt Romney.]

Using humor in bare-knuckle political contests is almost always a wise move. If you can use an ad that pokes fun at your opponent, particularly when you are getting vastly outspent, it provides a certain jujitsu quality to the race. In a sense, you are using the heavy handed attacks against your candidate and flipping them with a clever comeback.

Santorum and Brabender want voters to think about the Rambo ad every time they see an attack from Romney, thereby discrediting the messenger.

It works particularly well when the negative ratings of your opponent are as high as Romney's and when voters have already tended to turn against his message and his candidacy.

[Scott Galupo: Mitt Romney Should Attack Rick Santorum's Spending Record]

This ad will not be enough, however. Santorum will have to show the clear differences between himself and Romney; he needs to pull in conservative voters and those who are dissatisfied with Romney's flip-flops, inconsistencies, and policy positions. That is one reason Santorum uses the "Romneycare" issue in the Rambo ad.

It is also smart to put the ad up early, just as voters are focusing on the Michigan primary, and not waiting until the last minute when its effectiveness would be less pronounced. It also ensures that the Santorum campaign will get "buzz" on the ad and that it will go viral.

All in all, a smart ad and a smart political move.

  • See pictures of Mitt Romney
  • See pictures of Rick Santorum
  • See a collection of political cartoons on the 2012 GOP hopefuls.