As decision-day approaches this Saturday in South Carolina's Republican primary, television viewers are being bombarded by ads from the campaigns and super-pacs. Here's my account of what I was seeing over the past long-weekend leading up to the debate on Monday night. My assessment is limited to the Columbia Metropolitan television market where I live, but included ads being run on all four network affiliates. I would be interested in knowing what other RedStaters from South Carolina are seeing in the rest of the state.
All of the campaigns have ads in support of their candidates and in fairly equal numbers. The Romney campaign is running an new ad highlighting the positive aspects of his Bain experience which emphasizes companies that he helped like Sports Authority and Staples and the jobs he helped create. Gingrich's primary ad emphasizes his experience working with Ronald Reagan and as Speaker. Santorum's ad claims that he is a "trusted conservative". Perry has a new ad that features testimonies from Medal of Honor winners and his support for the military. Paul emphasizes that he will cut the budget a Trillion ("with a T") dollars. Super-pacs also have positive ads for each of the candidates. The Red, White, and Blue Fund has made a major buy in favor of Rick Santorum. The most curious is the Santa Rita Super Pac's ad touting Ron Paul's service in the military and claiming that he "supports our troops".
Gringrich, Santorum and Romney are all the targets of negative ads. The pro-Romney superpac, Restore Our Future, is running the anti-Gingrich ad ("Newt Gingrich has more baggage than the airlines.") that it used to effectively destroy Gingrich in Iowa. Restore Our Future is also up with an anti-Santorum ad featuring the "Four Things that Barack Obama knows about Rick Santorum." This ad includes the claim that Santorum voted to "allow convicted felons to vote" that Santorum has labeled a lie, but Romney himself is standing behind this claim.
The pro-Gingrich superpac, Winning Our Future, is running the anti-Romney ad based on the 27 1/2 web video, "King of Bain", that it premiered in New Hampshire. They have also released an ad calling Romney a RINO and a third ad challenging Romney's claim that he helped create over 100,000 jobs through Bain. Gingrich himself has an anti-Romney ad which hits hard at Romney's support for abortion while he was governor of Massachusetts.
Rick Santorum is launching an ad today, which (unfavorably) compares Romney to Obama on a series of issues (Romneycare = Obamacare, for example).
The pro-Perry superpac, Make Us Great Again, is running a two-for-one ad against both Gingrich and Santorum, which points out their records as "Washington Insiders". Ron Paul is running separate ads against Gingrich and Santorum. He has his "serial hypocrisy" anti-Newt ad that he ran in Iowa, but has added an anti-Santorum ad, featuring Santorum's legislative record, including Santorum's vote against the National Right to Work Law.
Rick Perry and Ron Paul are not the subjects of any negative ads (that I have seen).