Romney backer supports ads showing "contrasts"
Former Republican Sen. Jim Talent, who supports Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential race, said on Sunday's "Face the Nation" that the campaign supports ads that show "contrasts" between the candidates.
Talent, who represented Missouri in the House and Senate from 1993 to 2007, was asked by "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer about the flood of negative ads from super PACs, which are paid for and sponsored by outside groups and which cannot be legally coordinated with the candidate or his campaign (even though many of them are run by friends or former associates of the candidates).
"The governor has said that he doesn't support those PAC ads or he doesn't support the idea of the PACs, but he does support the idea of contrasting," Talent said. "People are going to do what they're going to do. These ads have been fair contrasts of the record of the various candidates."
According to a recent survey, nearly half of all ads in Iowa in the last month have been critical of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who rose to the top of the polls early in December but has since dropped back.
Schieffer asked former Rep. J.C. Watts, who is supporting Gingrich, whether Romney could stop the super PAC ads if he wanted to.
"Well, Bob, he could. But super PACs, they are what they are," Watts said. "I'm not going to sit here and try to say that it's the Gingrich campaign or the Santorum campaign or the Paul... or any other candidate had a super PAC if they wouldn't be doing the same thing. I think that's the reality that we're dealing with in campaigns these days. People buy into negative ads. We see what has happened to Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry. Anybody that has been out front, that has been leading the pack, we've seen the Romney folks go after them pretty good. It is what it is."
Schieffer also asked Talent whether Romney could rise above 25 percent in the polls, about where the former Massachusetts governor has stayed for several months as he's seen his rivals rise and fall.
"The race is fluid," Talent said. "There are a lot of people who are undecided. They park in one place or another place... I think [Romney] is the candidate in a very heavily fractionalized field who has had the strong support all across the party campaigning in a number of different states. Where he's campaigned the most, he's the strongest, which is in New Hampshire. When people find out more about him, then they decide that they like him."
Talent added what he said was the "logic" of Romney's candidacy: "Governor Romney has had a strong consistent support across all segments of the party... really at all times in this campaign. And it is because of the logic of his candidacy and his record.
"This is the candidate that can beat Obama, turn around the federal government. That's the reason he's running so well," Talent offered.
- Kevin Hechtkopf
Kevin Hechtkopf is CBSNews.com's politics editor.Follow on Twitter »
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