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McCain's Daughter, A Michigan Ad Fight, And Rudy In Spanish

In South Carolina eight years ago, a whispering campaign suggesting that John McCain had fathered an illegitimate black baby may have been a factor in sinking his presidential campaign. A mailer sent out during that period used McCain's actual daughter, who McCain adopted from Bangladesh in 1993, to support the fraudulent claim.

Now a new mailer featuring McCain's daughter, Bridget, is being sent to South Carolina voters. But this time it comes from the McCain campaign itself, and stresses McCain's pro-life position. It also functions as a preemptive strike against a renewed whispering campaign against the candidate.

"Rights of the Unborn for 24 years," the mailer says at the top. Then this text appears next to a photo of Cindy McCain holding Bridget: "Cindy McCain cradles little Bridget, a baby she and John adopted in 1993 from Mother Teresa's orphanage in Bangladesh. Bridget has been a great blessing to the McCain family. Today, Cindy and John work together to promote adoption and help women facing crisis pregnancies."

The mailer also includes the phrase "Pro-Life" in big letters, with a shot at rival Mitt Romney: "Not just recently. Always. Never wavering." (CBS News political consultant Marc Ambinder has snapshots.)

McCain also has a new ad out in Michigan, "Michigan Endorsed," touting his newspaper endorsements in the state. McCain has proved to be a favorite of newspaper editorial boards, and the spot features McCain's endorsements from The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. One of McCain's main rivals in Michigan is Romney, who is a native of the state, and, as the Associated Press notes, the ad could help counteract the advantages Romney gains from his Michigan ties.

Mike Huckabee, McCain's other serious rival in the state, also has a new ad out in Michigan, "Understanding." In it, he speaks directly to the camera. "When you grow up and life's a struggle, you have a whole different understanding of what people are going through," he says. Huckabee then talks about fuel costs, job loss, and the credit crisis and touts his tax cut and job growth record. "I believe most Americans to remind them of the guy they work with, not the guy who laid them off," he concludes.

Romney's Michigan spot, "Pride of America," stresses his ties to the state. "I grew up in Michigan when Michigan was the pride of America," he says at the start. "It breaks my heart to see us in a one-state recession." He talks about the need to "turn us around" and states that "Michigan is personal to me."

Polls in Michigan, where voters go to the polls on Jan. 15th, suggest that the three candidates are in a close race. The state is particularly important to Romney, whose strategy was built on garnering momentum from early wins but has yet to win a state.

Rudy Giuliani, meanwhile, is focusing on his key state, Florida, where he this week began running Spanish-language television ads on multiple stations stressing his record of crime fighting and tax cuts in New York. According to CandidatoUSA, Romney and Ron Paul may soon follow suit.