Romney backers spend big to boost him in Iowa

A political action committee backing Mitt Romney is spending $3.1 million dollars to run ads on Iowa television and radio designed to boost Romney ahead of the January 3 Iowa caucuses.

The 3.1 million buy from Restore Our Future, a so-called Super PAC backing Romney, reflects a major investment on the candidate's behalf in a state he lost in the 2008 campaign despite spending millions of dollars there. Candidate Super PACs are independent from official campaigns and legally prohibited from coordinating with them, though there are often close links between the two.

Restore Our Future had $12.3 million cash on hand in June, the last filing period. The group declines to disclose its current funds.

Romney has thus far been hesitant to compete aggressively in Iowa, in part to manage expectations in a state where the evangelical-heavy GOP electorate has shown little enthusiasm for the former Massachusetts governor. In a CBS News/New York Times poll this week, Romney was essentially tied for second place in the state with Ron Paul, trailing Newt Gingrich by 14 points.

If Romney could win Iowa - which is possible if no candidate can consolidate conservative support - and go on to win New Hampshire a week later, he would be well positioned to potentially wrap up the nomination before February.

The first ad from Restore Our Future is an attack on President Obama - not Romney's chief rival for the nomination, Gingrich. The 30-second spot, at left, asks how many jobs Mr. Obama created "as a community organizer" and "as a law professor" before touting Romney's job creation record.

In a statement responding to the ad, Obama for America press secretary Ben LaBolt targets Romney's history as a so-called "corporate buyout specialist, eliminating jobs and bankrupting companies while pocketing hundreds of millions of dollars."

"Now, in the final days of the Iowa caucuses, his allies are riding to his rescue, spending millions of dollars in secret, undisclosed donations to promote a candidate who will put Wall Street profit ahead of middle class security," LaBolt says.

On Wednesday, Romney's campaign unveiled a new ad, "Leader," that seemed to take a swipe at the thrice-married Gingrich.

"I've been married to the same woman for 25 - excuse me, I'll get in trouble - for 42 years," he says in the spot.

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