Romney decided to run a TV ad against Huckabee because his campaign is getting desperate. Go negative and knock Huckabee down and perhaps regain the lead.* They decided to focus on Huckabee being soft on crime.
The ad contrasts Huckabee's record of many pardons with Romney's record of no pardons while governor. That is about the entire ad.
It tries to show that as a conservative Republican Huckabee is too compassionate and follows the Christian forgiveness doctrine a bit too much so he is not as tough on crime. No pardons is equated with being tough on crime.
Instead this ad shows that Huckabee is Christian, does believe in compassion and judgment and forgiveness and repentance. It shows that Romney is hard-hearted and is not a Christian who believes in forgiveness or pardons.
How many Christian Republicans want to elect someone who doesn't believe in pardons or repentance? Doesn't it draw attention to the fact that Romney is not a Christian while he is already losing Christian support?
The ad might work against a Democrat who was perceived as being soft on crime but there is nothing in Huckabee's record indicating that. He is just more generous with pardons because of his Christian beliefs. It draws a contrast with Romney's lack of Christian beliefs.
Huckabee's campaign wants Romney to run more of these ads.
* They did this despite knowing the history of Iowa turning against candidates who run negative ads.
Tags: politics, Romney, Huckabee, Iowa, 2008, religion, political ads, marketing analysis