From The Caucus at The New York Times:
Mrs. Bachmann never mentions her rival Mr. Perry, who in a matter of weeks since he entered the Republican race for the 2012 nomination has captured a fair share of her Tea Party base.
But a political action committee that supports Mrs. Bachmann is not nearly so discrete. An advertisement it has created attacks Mr. Perry for raising spending in Texas and borrowing to cover deficits. “There is an honest conservative,’’ the ad concludes, “and she’s not Rick Perry.’’
The independent group that created it, Keep Conservatives United, has said it will begin airing the spot Monday on television stations in South Carolina. It opens with an image of Gov. Perry in a cowboy hat and the question, “Tea Party Guy?’’
Mr. Perry’s campaign hit back hard Thursday afternoon, disputing point by point what it called false claims in the ad.
The attack ad is evidence that the Republican race is entering a new phase as the field — particularly the most conservative candidates all seeking Tea Party support — attempt to sharp draw distinction with their rivals. The sparks will no doubt continue flying when Mr. Perry makes his first appearance in a national debate of the candidates Sept. 7.
The ad is also a sign of things to come, as such so-called super PACs, which can raise unlimited funds, ramp up their activity and begin spending the millions of dollars they have already raised for this presidential campaign.
(Watch the ad at The New York Times link)