Afternoon Fix: Ron Paul ad savages Rick Santorum

at 05:13 PM ET, 01/06/2012

Ron Paul goes up with a brutal ad against Santorum in South Carolina; Santorum super PAC counters with positive bio ad; and Cain will endorse Jan. 19.

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EARLIER ON THE FIX:

Republicans unveil new Tennessee map

New Hampshire and the battle for second place

Ron Paul’s negative turn

Mitt Romney storms to big lead in South Carolina as Rick Santorum stalks

Is Haley popular enough to help Romney?

Jobs reports continue to bolster the new Obama

Globe endorses Huntsman, but Romney still bulletproof in New Hampshire

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:

* Another primary, another brutal ad from Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). He’s going on the air in South Carolina with a $250,000 buy attacking former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum for the first time. “One serial hypocrite exposed,” says the narrator, as former House speaker Newt Gingrich appears onscreen. “Now another has emerged: Rick Santorum, a corporate lobbyist and Washington politician. A record of betrayal.”

* A super PAC supporting Santorum is going on the air in South Carolina as well, with an ad called “Pride.” It’s a positive spot that features footage from the candidate’s well-received post-caucus speech in Iowa on Tuesday. The spot calls Santorum “the conservative we can trust.” It’s a $190,000 buy in Greenville, Charleston and Columbia; the group says it spent $537,000 in Iowa.

* South Carolina state Rep. Thad Viers (R) has dropped out of the race for the state’s newly created 7th congressional district and will not run for reelection, saying in a statement that his decision was “due to personal reasons.” Those reasons: the Myrtle Beach lawmaker was arrested today on a charge of harassment filed by his ex-girlfriend — his second harassment charge in the last five year. There will likely be a crowded primary for the new district, but Viers was an early favorite.

* Former presidential candidate Herman Cain will endorse a candidate on Jan. 19, two days before the South Carolina Republican primary, he told MSNBC today. “It will be an unconventional endorsement,” Cain said. “Underscore the word unconventional.”

* A couple of Mitt Romney’s opponents appear to be moving towards de-emphasizing New Hampshire. Following the debates Saturday night and Sunday morning in the Granite State, Santorum will head right to South Carolina for two events on Sunday, just two days before the New Hampshire primary. Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has never spent much time or effort in the state, will be in South Carolina the night of the primary.

WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T MISS:

* The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America are airing ads before, during and after this weekend's two Republican primary debates in New Hampshire. The spot targets Rep. Charlie Bass (R-N.H.), who will likely face a tough reelection campaign. It’s a small ad buy — $20,000.

* At an event intended to improve his relationship with the Nevada Hispanic community, Sen. Dean Heller was repeatedly questioned on his opposition to the DREAM Act, which would grant legal status to some young undocumented immigrants attending college. A third of Nevadans are Hispanic; Heller faces Rep. Shelley Berkley (D) in what will almost certainly be a very close race.

* New Jersey state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D) has formed a federal political action committee with an eye towards a Senate run, PolitickerNJ reports. Sweeney is reportedly looking at the seat currently held by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D), who will be 90 years old by the 2014 election.

* A new Gallup national tracking poll shows Santorum continues to rise and is now in third place at 15 percent, just four points behind Gingrich. Romney remains in first place at 27 percent.

THE FIX MIX:

Somebody get these folks some more instruments. They’re pretty good.

With Chris Cillizza.

 
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