NEW YORK — Brace yourselves for the attack ads.
Rick Perry's Social Security plan might cost Florida its entire public education and prison systems. Mitt Romney is the flip-flopper responsible for "Obamacare." Or so declare just two presidential campaign videos on the Web.
Republican candidates have been test-driving themes and previewing attack lines online, foreshadowing the TV ad war that's all but certain to start soon in Iowa, New Hampshire and other early voting states.
Most GOP candidates, like Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, don't have the cash to wage an aggressive TV effort. Texas Rep. Ron Paul has done limited advertising in Iowa and New Hampshire, and has the money to go back on the air. Others, primarily Perry, could run TV ads sooner rather than later as they look to change the dynamics of the race.
The Texas governor's campaign released a scathing Web video earlier this week comparing Romney's successful push for health care overhaul in Massachusetts to President Barack Obama's federal health care law, which conservatives deplore. The ad features voice-overs from a news commentator saying "Romney has flip-flopped on so many issues."
The Perry campaign also produced a Web video pairing Obama's voice with scenes of city graffiti and abandoned homes. The video cuts to images of farms and American flags as Perry announces his candidacy. "It's time to get America working again," he says.
Romney's Web videos have focused mainly on criticizing Obama for his handling of the economy, using the slogan "Obama Isn't Working."
But Romney has also gone after Perry. In one video, directed at retiree-rich Florida, Romney highlights Perry's proposal to let the states take over Social Security.
"What could that look like?" the ad asks, suggesting the financial shortfall would be so great in Florida that the state might have to eliminate public education and its prison system to make up the difference.