Between the two I’d go with Gingrich, for sure, but you’ve got to give Paul his due. This is an excellent ad. It crystallizes the negatives surrounding Gingrich’s rise to the lead.
Newt has a defense for some of this stuff. He can say that his policy positions on Freddie Mac – he’s been critical of Freddie’s role in the housing meltdown for a good while – aren’t compromised by the fact that they came to him and hired him to do some business for them. He can say that setting up a health care think tank that came up with oodles of ideas on how to tweak the system and in the process attracting money from companies involved in delivering health care isn’t corruption but a natural and probably desirable example of bringing stakeholders into a discussion about how to do things more efficiently and effectively, and he can probably make a good case for that.
But at the same time, even those who see Newt favorably understand that he does bring baggage to the table. This ad lays out what that baggage is. And it’s not about the fact that he’s had a couple of lousy marriages. If Newt is the guy, we’re going in with our eyes wide open.