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New Santorum Ad Links Romney and Obama Policies New Santorum Ad Links Romney and Obama Policies

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CAMPAIGN 2012

New Santorum Ad Links Romney and Obama Policies

Wisconsin spot compares stances on health care, environment, and taxes.

SHAWANO, Wis. – In a last-ditch effort to pull out a win in Wisconsin's GOP primary on Tuesday, presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s campaign on Monday began running an ad in Wisconsin comparing front-runner Mitt Romney's policies to those of President Obama.

“What if I told you this man’s big-government mandated health care included $50 abortions and killed thousands of jobs?” a female narrator asks onscreen as pictures of Obama interspersed with pictures of an ultrasound fill the space next to her. “Would you ever vote for him?”

 

“What if I told you he supported radical environmental job-killing cap and trade and the Wall Street bailouts? And what if I told you he dramatically raised taxes and stuck taxpayers with a $1 billion shortfall?” she asks.

“One more thing: What if I told you the man I’m talking about isn’t him?” the narrator asks as a picture of Obama’s face on the screen morphs into a picture of Romney’s face. “It’s him.”

Romney's campaign issued a swift response. "It is sad to see him completely lose his bearings and revert to patently false claims," spokeswoman Andrea Saul said. "Senator Santorum is at a point of desperation that he will say or do anything. It is pretty clear that he is lashing out at everyone around him in order to prop up his sinking campaign.”

 

Saul noted the fact-checking website PolitiFact.com labeled "false" previous Santorum claims that Romney backed a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as that he left Massachusetts with a $1 billion deficit. PolitiFact rated as "mostly false" Santorum's attempt to link Romney to the law that mandated abortion coverage and his contention that the state's health care law "killed" jobs.

The ad is a gamble in a state where polls have shown Romney leading Santorum and where the former Pennsylvania senator’s crowds have begun to dwindle in recent days.

It is part of a $146,643 ad buy in Wisconsin from March 28 through April 3, according to a Republican keeping track of the ad buy market. In the Milwaukee, Green Bay-Appleton, and Madison markets, Santorum will spend $104,740 the networks and $41,903 on cable. The effort supplements about $1 million in ads run by the Red White and Blue Fund, a super PAC supporting Santorum’s campaign.

Santorum's ad spending pales in comparison to the amounts the Romney campaign and the super PAC Restore Our Future are posting in Wisconsin. The Romney campaign alone is outspending its rival 5-to-1 in the Badger State during that period.

 

A win in Wisconsin is important for Santorum. Romney is the overwhelming favorite in the other Tuesday primary contests in Maryland and the District of Columbia. His best chances lie in Pennsylvania, his home state, on April 24, and even a win there is far from guaranteed.

As Santorum spent a final day campaigning in rural parts of Wisconsin, he accused Romney of driving down Republican primary turnout with negative campaign tactics.

“In every state we won, turnout was up over the previous four years because folks in small town and rural America, conservatives, tea party activists, came out and understood how important this race was and they went out and voted in bigger numbers,” he said at a campaign stop in Oshkosh. “In every state Gov. Rommey's won, turnout has been down because of the overwhelming number of negative ads driving down turnout. ... That's how he's been able to win.”

Ironically, after the event, a voter approached Santorum to complain about the number of robocalls he has received from the Red White and Blue Fund, the pro-Santorum super PAC. “It’s getting insane,” said the man. “I’m right on the fence between the two of you and I’m going to have to reconsider. I mean, you seem like a nice guy. I like your conservative values and all but it’s difficult.”

 

Reid Wilson contributed

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