Newt Gingrich
Republicans have made ads attacking Newt Gingrich, one of the party\'s hopefuls for the 2012 presidential campaign. (Reuters/Jeff Haynes) Reuters

Republicans in America are squabbling amongst themselves over so-called "attack ads" targeting Newt Gingrich, one of the party's hopefuls for the 2012 presidential campaign, who is being upbraided for his "baggage".

In response to the negative ads, Republican Party experts that the only person who stands to benefit from them is Democrat President Barack Obama, who is likely to seek re-election.

Just one month after he overtook Mitt Romney for the lead in the Republican presidential race, Newt Gingrich is already beginning to fade. He still leads by 4.5 percentage points nationally, but that's down from a double-digit lead just last week, and he lost his lead in Iowa on Monday, slipping to third place behind Ron Paul and Romney.

The campaign group Restore Our Future, which supports Mr Gingrich's Republican rival Mitt Romney, released a TV ad in the state of Iowa, criticising Mr Gingrich's record.

"You know what makes Barrack Obama happy?" the female voiceover asks at the start of the advert. "Newt Gingrich's baggage," she says, adding: "Newt has more baggage than the airlines."

The advert highlights the highly-paid work that Mr Gingrich performed as a consultant for the government-backed mortgage provider Freddie Mac. Mr Gingrich received $1.6 million (£1 million) from the mortgage giant, which the voiceover claims "helped cause the economic collapse", adding a further barb with the line that he "cashed in" on the financial crisis.

Mr Gingrich is also criticised for co-sponsoring the funding of a UN programme "supporting China's brutal 'one child' policy".

This is not the only attack ad aimed at Mr Gingrich.

Ron Paul, who is also standing for the Republican presidential candidacy, has released two ads that directly attacking his rival.

The first, "Newt Gingrich: Selling Access", points to Mr Gingrich's rising wealth since he became a congressman because of money that he has received from lobbyists, as well as the 84 ethical complaints that were lodged about him he was while he was the speaker of the house in Congress.

At one point the audio accompanying the ad says: "Newt Gingrich, this guy doesn't have skeletons in his closet, he has a whole graveyard in there."

Mr Paul's other ad, "Newt Gingrich: Serial Hypocrisy", accuses him of taking both sides in debates, depending on what lobbyists are paying him.

"If there's anything I have found saddening, but not shocking but saddening, about this campaign, it has been the weight of totally negative campaigning by people who apparently have nothing positive to offer," Mr Gingrich told NPR.