In the aftermath of Wednesday night's Republican brawl, Fred Thompson hits three of his rivals hard in a new Web ad that argues he is "the true conservative."
The ad -- a shorter version of which was shown during the CNN/YouTube debate -- questions the conservative bona fides of Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and Rudy Giuliani. (Watch it here.)
The spot, perhaps the most direct assault of any ad of the GOP campaign so far, represents a tougher tack by Thompson, the actor and former US senator from Tennessee, who jumped into the race late and whose candidacy has been rather underwhelming so far.
The ad features clips of Romney supporting abortion rights during his unsuccessful 1994 campaign against Senator Edward M. Kennedy and during his winning 2002 run for governor. Romney now opposes abortion, and calls for overturning the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision.
The spot also shows clips of Huckabee, as governor of Arkansas, supporting tax hikes. And it shows Giuliani endorsing Democrat Mario Cuomo for New York governor in 1994 and criticizing the National Rifle Association.
Then, as the music turns from foreboding to soaring, the ad shows a series of testimonials culled from media outlets and supporters attesting to Thompson's conservative credentials. It argues that for Republicans to win the White House next year, they have to stick to conservative principles.