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Rand Paul Hammers Health Care Reform in Ad

Updated 2:02 p.m. Eastern Time

Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul is out with his first general election ad, "Gift of Sight," which focuses on his career as an ophthalmologist and includes an attack on the health care reform overhaul bill.

In the ad, a narrator says Paul "opened his door" to patients after Medicare stopped serving them (it is not clear to what this refers) and also says that Paul "always puts patients first."

"That's why he opposes the Obama-Pelosi health care scheme, which puts Washington bureaucrats in charge, destroying the doctor/patient relationship," the narrator continues. Paul goes on to identify himself as "a physician, not a career politician."

The spot, which goes into rotation on broadcast and cable today, comes as a new poll (from a Democratic pollster) finds Paul locked in a tight race with his Democratic opponent, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway. The two men are running to succeed retiring Sen. Jim Bunning.

The poll, conducted for the Kentucky Leadership Council, finds Paul leading Conway 48 percent to 45 percent, according to the Washington Post.

It also suggests that Paul, a libertarian-leaning, Tea Party-backed candidate who drew negative national media attention for comments he made after winning the GOP nomination, has been hampered by his public pronouncements: The poll reportedly found that 59 percent of the state's voters agree with the notion that Paul "says things that bother and concern me."

A SurveyUSA poll last week, however, painted a much brighter picture for Paul, showing him leading Conway by 15 percentage points. And a poll out from Rasmussen today also suggested a wide lead for Paul, 54 percent to 39 percent.

Sen. John McCain beat then-Sen. Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election in Kentucky 57 percent to 41 percent, but Democrats have targeted the race on the theory that Paul could alienate portions of the electorate.

Paul has maintained a relatively low profile since entering the national spotlight through his primary win and subsequent questioning of parts of the Civil Rights Act and Americans with Disabilities Act. He has since adopted more traditionally-Republican rhetoricand declined to embrace his father Ron Paul's full-throated opposition to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, among other causes important to many libertarians.

Brian Montopoli is a political reporter for You can read more of his posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.