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Ad war is on in Michigan between Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum

February 15, 2012|By Michael A. Memoli
  • During an appearance on "Fox & Friends," Mitt Romney watches a new Rick Santorum ad airing in Michigan.
During an appearance on "Fox & Friends," Mitt Romney watches… (FoxNews.com )

Neither Rick Santorum nor Mitt Romney has touched down yet in Michigan, the next key battleground in the GOP presidential race. But already there's a fierce air war being engaged between the two and their surrogates.

Romney's "super PAC" launched its first attack ad on Tuesday, not just in Michigan but also Arizona and Ohio. It calls Santorum a "big spender" and "Washington insider," citing congressional votes on raising the debt limit and spending proposals.

It's a familiar pattern. As another "anti-Romney" comes to the surface, the group Restore Our Future and other Romney surrogates go on the attack.

The former Pennsylvania senator seemed prepared, and launched a third spot on Michigan airwaves called "Rombo" that features a Romney look-alike firing mud at a cardboard cutout of Santorum.

"Mitt Romney's negative attack machine is back, on full throttle," a narrator says. "Romney and his super PAC have spent a staggering $20 million brutally attacking fellow Republicans. ... Because Romney's trying to hide from his big-government Romneycare."

On Wednesday morning, Romney got a chance to see the ad himself during an appearance on "Fox & Friends." He liked the actor portraying him, but little else.

"That's the nature of politics, which is that you always accuse the other guy of what you've done yourself," he said.

Romney said his campaign has never run negative ads against Santorum, while Santorum's did against him before the South Carolina primary, and his super PAC did in Missouri.

But he added: "I'm not saying we won't finally go after the guy."

Here are the two ads:    

michael.memoli@latimes.com
twitter.com/mikememoli

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