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Romney's New Ad: The Third Leg of the Stool

Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) is riding high at the moment with polls in places like Iowa and New Hampshire putting him at or near the top of the Republican presidential field.

His quick rise is due in large part to a sustained television campaign in each of the two early states. Romney went on television in February and has been on the airwaves steadily since. And, he's not stopping now.

Romney's campaign is set to launch a new ad tomorrow in both Iowa and New Hampshire that paints him as a business-minded conservative with an eye on eliminating wasteful spending and providing tax cuts. (You can watch the ad below.)

"Government is simply too big," Romney says in the ad. "I've brought change to every institution I've touched. I'm going to work like crazy to go to Washington to bring change there."

There are a couple of things worth noting in the commercial:

* The background behind which Romney is speaking for much of the ad bears the words "Club For Growth." Anyone who considers himself (or herself) a fiscal conservative knows about the Club and its reputation as the defender of staunchly conservative economic policies. While the Club has yet to endorse a candidate, having their logo behind Romney send a clear message to viewers of the ad that he is "one of them."

* The ad is a further attempt by the Romney campaign to flesh out the "three legged stool" image that the governor uses when asked to explain his political philosophy. Romney has focused heavily on two of the legs thus far -- family values and national security -- and this ad, on the economy, appears to be an attempt to fill out the rest of the picture.

* While all of Romney's ads to date have been produced by Alex Castellanos of National Media, this one was done by Brad Todd and Curt Anderson -- the principles of a media consulting company called On Message Inc. Todd was once a partner in National Media with Castellanos; he also has Tennessee ties -- take that Fred Thompson! -- having served as the executive director of the state party and as a consultant to former Rep. Van Hilleary (R). Anderson is a longtime operative who was the consultant closest to Sen. Elizabeth Dole (N.C.) during her tenure last cycle at the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. He also advises Gov. Don Carcieri (R.I.) who has endorsed Romney's presidential bid.

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 19, 2007; 1:47 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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