AMHERST, NH -- Texas Rep. Ron Paul contended Wednesday that his recent ads and web videos about Newt Gingrich's record are not negative, but merely clarifying the former Speaker's history in politics and Washington.
"I think pointing out people's positions is not negative," he told reporters after stopping by a grocery store to meet voters Wednesday morning. "I think the candidates have a responsibility to point out, 'Well, his position used to be this.' What's wrong with that?"
This week, Paul released a new commercial and several web videos attacking Gingrich's record and Washington business ties, including receiving money from mortgage giant Freddie Mac. Earlier this week, Gingrich himself issued a letter to his staff vowing that he will stay positive during the campaign and instructing all staff and surrogates to "avoid initiating attacks on other Republican candidates."
When Paul was asked about Gingrich's promise to stay positive, he laughed aloud. "That's what campaigning is all about. He used to say this and he flipped over like this. I don't consider that negative," Paul said.
This comes amidst Paul's rise in Iowa polls. According to the latest NBC News/Marist survey in the Hawkeye state, Paul ties front-runner Mitt Romney at 17% while Gingrich surged ahead to 24%. In New Hampshire, Paul is securely in third place behind Romney and Gingrich respectively and ahead of former Utah governor Jon Huntsman.
"I think in political terms it means we're probably peaking at the right time," Paul said Wednesday morning.
Paul's voter turnout at single events in Iowa has ticked up into the quadruple digits. In New Hampshire, where he usually pulls around 300 people, he spoke to nearly 500 at the Peterborough Town House Wednesday night and stayed afterward to pose for pictures for all who were interested -- a Ron Paul campaign trail tradition that was mightily tested as hundreds waited in line to meet him.
Despite his momentum in early states, a universal question looms over these massive events. Over and over again in New Hampshire, diehard supporters wonder aloud in questions to Paul about his electability on the national stage. Throughout his swing in the Granite State, voters have encouraged the Texas congressman to push harder to make a case for himself.
"You need to start saying, 'I can get elected.' Because nobody is saying it. You have got to say it," a Republican voter told Paul this morning at a local Republican party breakfast at Joey's Diner.
"Well, you know why they say that?" Paul responded. "Because they're scared to death I will get elected. So they have to put a negative spin on it."
Looking at the long game, Paul is confident his campaign's organization can withstand an extended race, even if he hopes it is exactly the opposite.
"Well I'm not looking forward to anything being long and protracted so I hope it ends rather quickly and we do real well at the beginning of the year," Paul said.
"The organization is fantastic. The question is: am I going to hold up if I keep doing all of this?" the 76-year-old joked.