I Think the Personal Touch is Best. Just Check Out My Ads

In Iowa today, Mitt Romney gave his seal of approval to the state’s decision to move its GOP presidential primary to Jan. 3. “I think it’s a good thing that Iowa is first,” Romney told reporters, according to the Politico’s Jonathan Martin. “Iowans have shown over the years that they’re willing to get to know the candidates on a personal basis and make a judgment on their heart and character, not just their ads.” Not that there’s anything wrong with ads in Romney’s book. His comments came on the heels of yet more details on just how extensive the former governor’s advertising has been during the first nine months of the campaign. According to the Nielsen Company, Romney has placed 10,893 TV and radio ads so far-more ads than any other two presidential hopefuls combined. Bill Richardson placed second, with 5,975 ads, and Barack Obama was third, placing 4,293 ads. According to Nielsen, Romney ran 10,199 ads on local TV, the bulk of them in Iowa, where Romney hit the airwaves 5,058 times. He ran 1,658 ads in New Hampshire, 977 ads in Vermont (where the TV market reaches residents in northern New Hampshire), 893 ads in South Carolina and 1,413 ads in Florida. None of his GOP opponents even came close to his ad buys. Rudy Giuliani, who has yet to air a TV ad, ran 642 radio spots. Ron Paul ran 232 TV ads, all in Iowa, and John McCain aired 166 TV ads in New Hampshire. At the same time, McCain leads the presidential pack in cheaper online advertising. According to Nielsen, McCain had 4.3 million sponsored links in August. Dennis Kucinich was second with 1.8 million sponsored links and Romney was third, with 1.7 million. But we have a feeling that it’s only a matter of time before the other candidates close the gap. Just Google “Fred Thompson.” Right now, when you search for info on the former Tennessee senator, a banner ad comes up touting Mike Huckabee’s Web site. “Huckabee Finn?” it says, playing off former White House aide Dan Bartlett’s recent comments about the former Arkansas governor’s last name. “Check out the real story.”