Ron Paul: Rick Perry was Al Gore's "cheerleader"

Updated 3:14 p.m. Eastern Time

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul is out with a new ad contrasting his support for Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign with rival Rick Perry's backing of Democrat Al Gore's 1988 presidential bid.

"The establishment called him extreme and unelectable. They said he was the wrong man for the job," an announcer says as the ad opens with photographs of Reagan. "It's why a young Texan named Ron Paul was one of only four congressmen to endorse Ronald Reagan's campaign for president, believing in Reagan's message of smaller government and lower taxes."

"After Reagan, Senator Al Gore ran for president, pledging to raise taxes and increase spending, pushing his liberal values," the announcer continues, as the background music turns ominous. "And Al Gore found a cheerleader in Texas named Rick Perry. Rick Perry helped lead Al Gore's campaign to undo the Reagan revolution, fighting to elect Al Gore President of the United States."

"Now, American must decide who to trust - Al Gore's Texas cheerleader, or the one who stood with Reagan," the ad concludes. The Paul campaign told CBS News the ad buy is in the six figures and that the spot will run in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Paul's ad comes as polls show Perry shooting ahead of Mitt Romney in polls of the GOP presidential candidates, with an average of 29 percent to Romney's 17 percent support. They're followed by Paul, Rep. Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin, who each have the support of 6-12 percent of Republican voters in most polls. (Palin has not formally entered the race.) 

The Perry campaign responded to the spot by pointing to a letter Paul wrote in 1987 resigning from the Republican Party. In it, Paul wrote: "There is no credibility left for the Republican Party as a force to reduce the size of government. That is the message of the Reagan years."

"I want to totally disassociate myself from the policies that have given us unprecedented deficits, massive monetary inflation, indiscriminate military spending, an irrational and unconstitutional foreign policy, zooming foreign aid, the exaltation of international banking, and the attack on our personal liberties and privacy," Paul wrote. The letter came toward the end of Reagan's second term.

"Rep. Paul's letter is a broadside attack on every element of President Reagan's record and philosophy. Paul thought President Reagan was so bad, he left the GOP," said Perry spokesman Mark Miner.

With Bachmann potentially fading - see her campaign shakeup Monday night- Paul is hoping to use September, which features three GOP presidential debates, to catapult himself into the top tier and become a serious rival to Romney and Perry. Paul's libertarian beliefs have attracted a passionate, if limited, following in his two past presidential runs; his campaign says the Texas congressman can be more than simply a message candidate this time around.

Perry, who switched from the Democratic to Republican Party in 1989, is often reported to have been the Texas state chairman for Gore's campaign. In reality, Perry appears to have simply been one of Gore's coordinators in the state; Perry's campaign told CBS News in an email, "He was not chair." 

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