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Monday, March 5, 2012

Super PACs Help Fuel Primary Ad Wars

Is it fair to say that Republican Presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich wouldn’t be heading into Super Tuesday, if not for the super PACs backing them?

Here & Now media analyst John Carroll says absolutely.

Super PACs have spent a total of $70 million so far on the presidential campaign, according to the Los Angeles Times, since being cleared to spend unlimited amounts of cash on candidates by the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

Romney Super PAC Ads

The Restore Our Future super PAC, run by former Romney advisers, is leading with $25 million spent on TV ads. By contrast, the Romney campaign has only spent $14 million.

Restore Our Future is targeting Santorum with ad buys in Oklahoma, Ohio and Tennessee. Their latest ad questions Santorum’s credentials as a fiscal conservative.

“In a single session, Santorum cosponsored bills to increase spending and zero to cut spending,” the ad exclaims.

Santorum Takes On Gingrich And Romney

The pro-Santorum super PAC has spent $3 million on ads in the Super Tuesday races, including about $514,000 on TV and radio ads in Ohio that criticize both Romney and Gingrich.

Gingrich Focuses on Georgia

The pro-Gingrich super PAC Winning Our Future is focusing on Gingrich’s adopted home state of Georgia, spending nearly $1 million there.

The group’s TV ad includes clips of people saying they don’t trust Romney and mocking him for his wealth.

“Romney’s not the type to pump his own gas,” a woman says in the ad.

Ron Paul’s ‘Three Of A Kind’ Ad

Ron Paul’s campaign is lashing out at all three candidates with an ad called “Three of a Kind.”

The ad labels Newt Gingrich as “a serial hypocrite,” Rick Santorum as “a counterfeit conservative” and Mitt Romney as “a flip flopper who’s been on all sides.”

While the most money has been spent on behalf of Romney, Santorum and Gingrich might not even be in the running if not for Super PACs, since their campaigns are operating on shoestring budgets.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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