Attactics: Aggressive tactics. A portmanteau of attack and tactics; in some cases a probable eggcorn.
In a November 13, 2015, post on ADS-L, the listserv of the American Dialect Society, slang expert Jonathan E. Lighter noted that “CNN speaks of Donald Trump’s ‘attactics’ against Ben Carson” in the Republican presidential campaign. I hadn’t heard the usage, so I emailed Lighter for specifics. The source, he told me, was Christopher Cuomo, co-achor of the “New Day” morning show. Cuomo, it turns out, has been staging a one-man campaign to make attactics happen on the air and on Twitter.
Here are some of Cuomo’s earliest tweets using attactics – always in reference to Trump.
he wont agree with the snake but trump makes no bones about his "attactics" and they are working thus far. https://t.co/n9C1eXIjKT— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) November 4, 2015
Truth to power baby! Trump is a master of "attactics" but will he have to do more to get where he wants to be? https://t.co/94dmiIdR31— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) November 4, 2015
And from a transcript of the November 5 “New Day” (below the 06:25:12 break):
CUOMO: Well, look, this is what works for Donald Trump, also, Maeve. The -- what I've been calling the attacktics (ph) that he has.
But Cuomo didn’t invent attactics. In August 2007, the author of And Yet Another Stupid Blog wrote about Republican political consultant Karl Rove:
This behind the scenes neofascist is finally out of official government. There is a legacy of destruction behind him, and I dont think anybody could blame the Democrats if they adopt similar attactics to rebalance the political system when they win the presidency in 2008
It also showed up in a comment on a September 15, 2008, blog post – also about Karl Rove – on the Reuters website:
There’s no comparison between Obama “attac-tics” and McCain’s “pooflings”.
And here’s an Urban Dictionary entry dated November 29, 2004, a few weeks after President George W. Bush defeated John Kerry to win re-election:
Political campaigning stratagies [sic] designed to disorientate opponents through means of unconventional or unsuspected angles of attack.
The Swift Boat Veterans For Truth’s attactics went after the Kerry campaign where they were assumed to be strongest.
In an email to me, Jonathan Lighter distinguished between the conscious portmanteau employed by Cuomo and some others and the hypothetical eggcorn (“if that’s the right word”) employed by people who “may think that ‘tactics’ is just another way of saying ‘attacktics’.”
The latter group may be influenced, Lighter added, by Attacktix, an action-figure game produced by Hasbro between 2005 and 2006. (In 2012, Hasbro failed to renew trademark protection for the name.)
An eBay seller is asking $798.89 for this set of Attacktix action figures.