Romney uses new ad, adrenaline to woo Iowa

December 2, 2011

By Seth McLaughlin-The Washington Times

After spending most of the presidential primary tamping down expectations in Iowa, Mitt Romney is cranking up his campaign efforts in the Hawkeye State, including running his first ad Thursday, almost exactly a month before Republican voters hold their first-in-the-nation caucuses.

The former Massachusetts governor also deployed one of his sons,Josh, to Des Moines on Wednesday to meet with volunteers at his campaign headquarters. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is scheduled to campaign in Iowa next week for Mr. Romney, who also plans to participate in a Dec. 10 debate at Drake University.

“In the closing weeks before the caucuses, we will continue to make the case that Mitt Romney is the best candidate to beat Barack Obama,” campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in announcing the television ad. “Mitt Romney has always said that he would campaign and compete in Iowa.”

The late-innings push in Iowa is a world apart from the approach the campaign took in the 2008 presidential campaign, when Mr. Romneydumped nearly $10 million into the state, including an August ad thanking Iowans for his victory at the 2007 Ames straw poll.

But that strategy — which had him sitting first in the state polls at this time in 2007 — backfired when former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabeeemerged victorious. The outcome, combined with Sen. John McCain’s comeback victory in New Hampshire, effectively ended Mr. Romney’s campaign.

This time, Mr. Romney has employed a dramatically different approach in Iowa — perhaps banking on the fact that before the campaign started the only other potential candidate with whom a lot of voters were familiar was former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who eventually opted against a bid.

He has focused more attention on New Hampshire and tried to downplay expectations in Iowa, skipping the Ames straw poll and appearing just five times in the state since entering the race. Unlike some of his early ads from 2007, when he promised to strengthen everything from the military to marriage and the border, the 30-second “The Right Answer — Iowa” ad that he released Thursday has a single focus: the economy.

“The right answer for America is to stop the growth of the federal government and start the growth of the private sector,” he says in the new commercial.

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