DES MOINES, IOWA - It was a lucrative Christmas season for Iowa television and radio stations, as GOP presidential candidates and outside groups hungrily gobbled up countless advertising slots leading up to the first-in-the-nation caucuses. Since I returned in the state capital after the New Year, I've taken mental note of the spots I -- and millions of Iowans -- have seen on local broadcast affiliates and cable TV. Here is a completely random sampling of the ads I was able to locate online:
(1) Rick Santorum's 'pop-up' ad features a positive, family-centered message. The campaign borrows the concept from VH1's Pop-Up Video, a show that premiered back when Bob Dole was challenging Bill Clinton, and has recently been revived. This ad augments Santorum's primary, "Sing, Sing, Sing" campaign, which debuted in mid-December:
(2) The National Organization for Marriage is running this tough spot against Ron Paul, calling him a "radical" on the issue. The icing on this cake is the prominent inclusion of what may be the least flattering photograph ever taken of Rep. Paul:
(3) In another unsparing takedown of Newt Gingrich, Pro-Romney Super PAC "Restore Our Future" skewers the former Speaker for his series of "oops" moments over the course of the early primary campaign. It's illegal for Romney's campaign to coordinate with friendly outside groups, but this ad seems to conveniently illustrate Romney's "zany" line of attack against Gingrich. Newt has complained that he's being "Romney-boated," and has pledged to abandon his "relentlessly positive" campaign and retailiate hard against the former Massachusetts Governor. As Allahpundit posits, Saturday's debate in New Hampshire could get...intense:
(4) The Paul campaign makes a play for pro-lifers and women with a spot that highlights the hard-edged doctor's softer side:
(5) In his eleventh ad that has aired in Iowa, Rick Perry pushes his populist (if unlikely) "part-time Congress" proposal, and uses the occasion to blast his competitors who have served in a body he contends is a major contributor to the nation's problems:
Mere hours from now, none of this will matter, as the air wars fly east.
UPDATE - I can't resist posting this pro-Bachmann super PAC spot comparing the Minnesota Congresswoman and Bronco's quarterback Tim Tebow. Rick Perry played the Tebow card at the Sioux City debate last month, but this ad goes the extra mile. I'm a fan of his, but I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that Tebow's Broncos have lost three straight games and scored a measly three points in their regular season finale. Then again, they are in the playoffs:
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography