As the first primary season contests in Iowa and New Hampshire rapidly approach, candidates on both sides of the political aisle have been ramping up their rhetoric with negative attack ads in an attempt to buttress their credentials and weaken their opponents. The tone of the 2016 ad wars has been harsher than usual — perhaps in part due to the presence of GOP front-runner Donald Trump, who has a penchant for going for the jugular when it comes to his foes.
Gov. Chris Christie may be borrowing a page from the Trump playbook by targeting Sen. Marco Rubio, his competition for the coveted "GOP establishment" vote.
Rubio's super PAC has been striking back with an ad that calls Christie "Obama's favorite governor," and highlights his infamous affection towards the president in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012:
On Friday, Christie mocked Rubio for flip-flopping on his former praise for his tenure as governor of New Jersey with a video set to the tune of Adele's blockbuster song "Hello":
Jeb Bush's super PAC employs some forceful check-mark sound effects in a new ad contrasting his gubernatorial record with those of Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich:
And while Kasich throws shade at Christie and others in his latest ad, he tries to mostly focus on the positive, while dubbing himself as "impatient rascal":
Longshot candidate Rick Santorum, eager to get in on the mudslinging and free press, unleashed an ad this week seeking to consolidate the more conservative portion of the GOP primary electorate. His target: Sen. Ted Cruz. His message: The Texas lawmaker's public recital of nursery rhymes is not the stuff a commander-in-chief is made of:
Another candidate seeking to become the standard bearer for social conservatives, Mike Huckabee has also taken shots at Iowa front-runner Cruz, with an ad released by his super PAC suggesting the senator has shown duplicity on issues like marriage for same-sex couples:
Cruz has insisted he will take the high road and won't attack his fellow Republicans, except for the fact that of course he has:
Meanwhile, Cruz is also drawing fire from Rubio supporters, too:
<blockquote class="twitter-video" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">When you have to spend $ millions convincing people to trust you, Why is that? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/teammarco?src=hash">#teammarco</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/trumptrain?src=hash">#trumptrain</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IAcaucus?src=hash">#IAcaucus</a> <a href="https://t.co/28YskMW7x7">https://t.co/28YskMW7x7</a></p>— Todd Kron (@Toddkron) <a href="https://twitter.com/Toddkron/status/684583349868826624">January 6, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> '
And the Florida senator also appears to be running against President Obama, even though he's not up for re-election this year:
Still, the elephant in the room remains Trump, who managed to stir even more controversy with an ad that portrays what appears to be undocumented immigrants streaming across the border — although the footage is of the Moroccan border, not he U.S.-Mexico one — and includes some intense rhetoric on ISIS:
And before the backlash over that ad had died down, Trump put out a short clip linking the Clintons to embattled comedian Bill Cosby, which was in some ways was the culmination of a line of attack on their personal life that the Republican candidate had been honing in interviews all week:
All this vitriol and it's only January ...