Two top surrogates to Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign have written leading newspapers in five upcoming primary states, saying the fate of America's political system could very well fall apart if they don't write skeptically of Mitt Romney's campaign.
Penned by former congressmen Robert Walker (R-Pa.) and J.C. Watts (R-Okla.), the nine-page letter has a title that matches its melodramatic undertone: "Call To Conscience." Sent to the top editors of papers in Washington, Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Ohio, its opening sentence declares that there is "an existential threat to the integrity of the American political process" and its name is Mitt Romney.
"Governor Romney’s negative attack mentality, unfortunately, is a reflection of his own persona," the letter reads. "We ask you to speak out against a candidate with a great sense of entitlement and very little sense of accountability. We ask you to protest a candidacy and a campaign without a conscience. We ask you to censure and thwart a way of politics that if left unchallenged could corrupt our electoral process and democratic system for a generation."
There's little to quibble with the argument that Romney's campaign –- and its allied super PAC -- have been far more engaged in the dark arts of politics than others.
But there is still a certain sense of desperation in working the refs like this. Gingrich, after all, is hardly an electoral angel. His campaign's letter, meanwhile, conspicuously sucks up to recipients.
"We ask that you use the mighty voice of America’s newspapers to warn voters about Governor Romney’s attempt to use money and mendacity to secure the Republican nomination," it reads.
And coming from a candidate who routinely denounces the press as either idiotic or stooges of liberalism, Gingrich's courtship of the media at this juncture is particularly awkward.
Read the letter, filled with background research and fact-checking data points, in full: