Heavy opposition research and 'gotcha' moments—never have they been used by a front-runner as much as Mitt Romney has used them this political season, writes Politico. (The article even dubs him the "gotcha candidate.") Throughout 20 Republican debates, Romney has been the most consistently ready to attack his opponents' weaknesses, hitting Rick Perry on immigration, Newt Gingrich on individual mandates for health care, and, in Wednesday night's debate, Rick Santorum on federal funding for family planning programs and his support of Arlen Specter.
Political experts say Romney's strategy chiefly is the result of how this nomination cycle is going, with one anti-Romney appearing after another. “Usually, the front-runner has to deal with one or two challenges over a short period of time,” said one operative. “Romney has had to deal with how many other front-runners for how many months? Longer process.” As for Romney's campaign, insiders say their sustained attacks are getting results. “In football, if you find a play that works, keep running it," said a Romney adviser.