A pro-Israel group is looking to prevent Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul from making any inroads in South Carolina, airing a new TV ad hitting the Texas congressman for his foreign policy views.
The ad by the Emergency Committee for Israel is a minute-long, straight-to-camera spot featuring Gary Bauer, the influential Christian conservative and 2000 presidential candidate who frequently makes the rounds at national conferences such as the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit. It will air less than two weeks before the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary.
Below is the script of the ad, which slams Paul not only on his non-interventionist views but also on charges that he is a 9/11 “truther,” an accusation that Paul has strongly denied:
“Hi, I’m Gary Bauer. In high school, I volunteered for Barry Goldwater. I worked on the Reagan campaign and had the great honor to serve President Reagan in the White House. I’ve been active in conservative politics ever since. And I know conservatism offers the right way forward for America. I also know that Ron Paul’s conservatism is isolationist and conspiratorial.”
“He’s hostile to our military, hostile to our allies like Israel, and was hostile to great conservatives like Ronald Reagan. He denies that Iran is building a nuclear weapon. He says it was a crime to kill Osama bin Laden. He blames America for creating terrorism. He says we don’t know the truth behind the 9/11 attacks because of a government cover-up. He condemns our ally Israel for defending herself. Ron Paul is not a Reagan Republican. We can do better.”
A Paul spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the ad.
Noah Pollak, the executive director of the Emergency Committee for Israel, said in an interview that the spot is a “significant buy” that will begin airing next Wednesday in major South Carolina media markets. It will run on cable TV news, local TV and talk radio.
Why air the ad in South Carolina, where former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney holds a clear lead in the Republican race?
“To the extent that people are taking Ron Paul seriously as a candidate, we felt it was important to draw attention to his foreign policy views, which – as Gary pointed out in the ad – are conspiratorial and isolationist,” Pollak said. “We’re a pro-Israel group, so we want to draw attention to the records of anyone who does not have a pro-Israel record, and in the case of Ron Paul, has quite an anti-Israel record.”
Bauer is a member of the Emergency Committee for Israel’s board, which also includes Weekly Standard founder William Kristol and writer/activist Rachel Abrams.
A CNN/Time/Opinion Research poll of likely Republican primary voters released Friday shows Paul with 12 percent support in South Carolina, up from six percent early last month but still trailing far behind the top tier of candidates. Romney is at the top of the field with 39 percent, followed by former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) with 19 percent and former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) with 18 percent.
Bauer has not announced his support for a candidate in the field, but in an interview with the Associated Press this week, he had praise for Santorum.
“Conservatives are still divided among a number of different candidates, but the field is winnowing,” Bauer said. “I certainly think that Senator Santorum is in a good position to inherit a lot of that support.”