Restore Our Future, the well funded pro-Romney super PAC, has just released a blistering new ad in Iowa attacking Newt Gingrich. It pillories Newt on a number of issues, in an effort to show that he’s vulnerable in a general election and is not a true conservative.

But there’s one thing that’s mysteriously missing from the ad. A previous version of this spot — which leaked accidentally, and was quickly pulled down from YouTube by the super PAC — attacked Gingrich for having supported a national health insurance mandate.

In the newly-released spot — which retains every other non-health care related attack on Gingrich that the earlier version contained — mention of the national mandate has vanished.

Here’s the new version, which was released today:

The spot above hits Newt for a multitude of vulnerabilities: Fines for ethics violations; taking $1.6 million from Freddie MAC; supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants; and teaming up with Nancy Pelosi and Al Gore on global warming.

Here’s the previous version of the spot, which was yanked by Restore Our Future after it accidentally posted to the PAC’s YouTube page. It, too, attacked Newt on all of the above issues. But it also hit Newt as a “longtime supporter of a national health insurance mandate, the centerpiece of Obamacare”:

That’s now gone from the new version.

To recap: Someone in the pro-Romney camp put in the first version an attack on Gingrich for backing the national mandate, in order to prove that Gingrich isn’t a true conservative. Then maybe it dawned on these people that attacking Gingrich’s support for the mandate on Romney’s behalf might not be the greatest idea, given the centrality of the mandate to Romney’s health reform plan in Massachusetts.

Yes, yes, I know, Romney’s individual mandate was on the state level, while the pro-Romney forces were attacking Newt in the initial spot for favoring a national one. But these lines are blurrier than the Romney forces admit. Romney has never said that the Federal government should have the power to impose mandates. But he has said in the past that he hopes “most” states adopt a mandate, and has asserted that he hopes one day to see a “national that’s taken a mandate approach.”

Clearly, Romney did once envision the mandate as a solution that could be national, or quasi-national, in scope. So you can see why it was probably a good idea to leave the attack on Gingrich for favoring a national mandate on the cutting room floor.


UPDATE: Post edited slightly for accuracy. Some people have rightly pointed out that the ad was cut from 60 to 30 seconds. But virtually all the cutting was of excess verbiage; all the non-health-care related stuff from the previous version remained.