By Justin Sink - 01/10/12 04:45 PM EST
Newt Gingrich released his harshest campaign ad yet, blasting Mitt Romney as "pro-abortion" in a 30-second spot set to air in South Carolina.
"What happened after Massachusetts moderate Mitt Romney changed his position from pro-abortion to pro-life?" the narrator of the spot asks. "He governed pro-abortion.
The ad goes on to knock Romney's healthcare plan and concludes that, "He can't be trusted."
The ad represents the most dramatic departure from Gingrich's stated strategy of positive campaigning. The former Speaker hoped presenting himself as taking the moral high ground might dull the bruising impact of a pro-Romney group's ceaseless attack ads, but that strategy ultimately backfired. Gingrich finished a disappointing fourth in Iowa, where he had led polls just weeks earlier.
Since then, Gingrich has put Romney in his cross hairs, labeling the former governor "a liar" during campaign appearances and cutting another ad that criticized Romney's economic plan as "timid."
Pro-Gingrich groups have also gotten in on the game, spending millions of dollars to advertise in early-voting states South Carolina and Florida. Among the ads expected to air is a 30-minute documentary-style ad critical of Romney's time at the helm of Bain Capital.