Iowa voters to get a few silent nights over this holiday weekend

Christmas has brought a brief respite from negative ads in Iowa, as the campaigns have called a temporarily cease-fire on attacking one another and will run only positive spots over the weekend.

The timing of the Jan. 3 caucuses has forced campaigns to work around the holidays and seek to avoid offending voters, especially Iowa's large population of Christian conservatives, with negative attacks at the wrong time.

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Restore Our Future, an outside group supporting Mitt Romney that has been bombarding Newt Gingrich with negative ads, will be off the air on Saturday and Sunday.

"I hope all the ads come down over the Christmas weekend," Romney said on Friday. "It's probably time that people would rather watch some football or watch some movies."

His campaign did send out a video holiday card Friday afternoon thanking the troops and wishing "everyone a Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a happy new year."

Both Gingrich and Ron Paul are running spots wishing voters a Merry Christmas: Paul's features his son, freshman Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), praising his father's record while sitting in front of a Christmas tree, while Gingrich and his wife, Callista, wish voters a Merry Christmas.

Other campaigns have released positive spots focusing on the candidates and their families rather than trying to knock down their opponents. Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann are airing positive ads this weekend.

The respite is unlikely to last long — there are only 10 days until the caucuses and the closing days of campaigns usually feature the most attack ads — so expect, come Monday, the attacks to be back. But for two days, there will be some silent nights.