By Michael Levenson, Globe Staff
The colorful brochure from Mitt Romney's presidential campaign looks like many of the political fliers flooding Iowa mail boxes this time of the year.
But there is a difference. The piece is Romney's first to single out his rivals by name, a shift that shows him becoming more aggressive in the final weeks before the Jan. 3 caucuses.
The mailing juxtaposes photos and quotes from Romney showing his support for a federal constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman with photos and quotes showing Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Fred Thompson all oppose such a measure.
But it makes no mention of Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and Baptist preacher whose website says he has consistently supported a federal marriage amendment and led successful efforts to pass such an amendment at the state level in 2002. Huckabee has surged from the back of the pack to a virtual tie with Romney for first place in the Iowa polls.
Kevin Madden, a Romney spokesman, said today that the mailing was designed to contrast Romney with other candidates who are leading in the national polls -- a group that does not include Huckabee.
The Giuliani campaign, which has been feuding with Romney's camp, harshly criticized the brochure, which was apparently the first by any of the Republican candidates to directly go after a rival in Iowa.
"After spending months attacking, distorting, and misrepresenting his Republican opponents' positions, and spending tens of millions of dollars to see his poll numbers continue to slide, it's not surprising Mitt Romney has taken his negativity to a new low," spokesman Jason Miller said in a statement. "We fully expect Romney’s negative attacks to soon be up on television, as his campaign continues to make clear they will do anything to distract voters from the fact their candidate is a phony with a liberal record."