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The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Pro Romney group attacks Gingrich on the air in Fla




Just in time for the holidays...

...Attack TV ads to kick off Florida’s presidential primary.

A political group working to elect Mitt Romney is launching TV ads in Tampa Bay attacking former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich as a baggage-laden disaster against whom Barack Obama would love to run.

"Barack Obama’s plan is working. Destroy Mitt Romney. Run against Newt Gingrich. Newt has a ton of baggage," says a female narrator, who cites Congressional ethics violations fines Gingrich paid, consulting fees he received from Freddie Mac, and his positions on illegal immigration.

It wasn’t immediately clear Friday how extensively the 30-second spot will air in Florida, but The Buzz today reviewed contracts showing that the political committee, Restore Our Future bought $30,500 worth of air time on the local Fox affiliate, WTVT-Ch. 13, and $2,100 on the CBS affilliate, WTSP-Ch. 10.

Restore Our Future is a so-called SuperPac that can spend vast sums helping candidates but is not allowed to coordinate directly with the campaign. Several former Romney campaign staffers are working for Restore Our Future, which has been heavily funded by longtime Romney supporters.

The ads initially are scheduled to run through Dec. 22, apparently an effort to soften up Gingrich just before absentee ballot voting begins in Florida. A spokeswoman for Restore Our Future declined to comment.

Gingrich leads Romney in Florida by 18 percentage points, according to an average of recent polls compiled by RealClearPolitics. Restore Our Future has been running many more negative ads in Iowa against Gingrich, who has seen his lead eroding down to a current average of about 8 percentage points.

A spokesman for Gingrich has not responded to requests for comment.

[Last modified: Friday, December 16, 2011 4:49pm]


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