Ron Paul focuses on anti-abortion rights position in new ad

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas answers a question as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, center, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum look on during a Republican presidential debate at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., Tuesday night, Oct. 11, 2011.
AP Photo/Jim Cole

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul is airing a new ad in key primary states that ignores his well-known libertarian views on issues like foreign policy and instead focuses on his social conservatism -- namely, his strong views opposing abortion.

The ad highlights that Paul has delivered more than 4,000 babies as an obstetrician/gynecologist and calls him "a man of faith, committed to protecting life." Paul talks somberly into the camera about walking into an operating room in which doctors were performing a late-term abortion, and then witnessing doctors trying to save the life of another baby born early.

The television ad will air in Iowa, traditionally the first state to nominate presidential candidates, and a radio version will air Iowa and the other early-nominating states of New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

Paul, in this election cycle and the last, has won a passionate following among libertarian-leaning Republicans who approve of Paul's anti-interventionist foreign policy views and his fervent opposition to the Federal Reserve. He manages to collect healthy fundraising sums -- he brought in $8 million in the third quarter -- but his support in Republican polls seems to hover between 5 and 15 percent, keeping him a second-tier candidate. In the last CBS News poll he came in fifth place with 7 percent.

Part of Paul's limited appeal to the conservative base may the appearance of his singular focus on issues like monetary policy. However, like nearly all of the Republican presidential candidates, Paul's views on social issues are often in line with the GOP base. He stands apart from other Republicans for advocating the decriminalization of marijuana, but he has signed the Susan B. Anthony "pro-life" pledge, promising to take actions as president like promoting a law banning abortions at the point at which a fetus is capable of feeling pain. He's also promised to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court, though he does not support a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.