Today was the day that challengers in the Republican Presidential primary took out their heavy machinery on the front-runners. In two pretty devastating Web ads, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney are filleted, cut down by their own past public statements.

First, we have Ron Paul going after Gingrich:

This one includes the TV ad Gingrich shot with Nancy Pelosi, the Meet the Press interview where Gingrich criticized the Paul Ryan plan to end Medicare, the allegations of payouts from Freddie Mac and health care companies, the shifting positions depending on who’s paying him, etc. Pretty much everything. This is a Web ad, but it can easily be cut down into a TV spot. Heck, you could just run the original ad with Gingrich and Pelosi without any additional comments and it would probably be effective.

I don’t know if Gingrich will be hurt by this, but I will say that his spin on the Washington insider allegations, that he was acting as a citizen and not a lobbyist, is one of the most hilariously smug alibis I’ve ever seen.

Not to be outdone by Paul, Jon Huntsman takes Mitt Romney to the woodshed with this spot, based off last night’s contentious Romney interview on Fox News Channel:

Romneycare finally gets a mention in a Republican ad, as does Romney’s record on abortion and immigration. The flip-flop meme is pushed hard here.

This shows that Paul thinks he can beat Gingrich in Iowa, and Huntsman thinks he would benefit from taking down Romney in New Hampshire. But also it shows that, in this wild Republican primary race, the 11th Commandment has gone out the window.

David Dayen

David Dayen