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Gingrich campaign on air with first 'contrast' TV ad


PLYMOUTH, N.H. -- Newt Gingrich is out with his first “contrast” television ad airing in both New Hampshire and South Carolina Thursday, marking a new phase of his presidential campaign.

The TV ad, which calls Mitt Romney’s economic plan “timid,” is a switch from the positive-only ads the campaign was running in Iowa -- all of those ads featured Gingrich doing the narration.

The “Bold, Conservative Leadership” ad uses video from previous Gingrich ads, but has a male narrator talking about the negatives of Romney’s economic plan and the positives of Gingrich’s jobs plan.

“Romney’s economic plan: timid. Parts of it virtually identical to Obama’s failed policies. Timid won’t create jobs and timid certainly won’t defeat Barack Obama,” the man says with Romney’s face faded in the background as somber music plays.

As more upbeat music plays and brighter images, the narrator goes on to praise the former House Speaker: “Newt Gingrich’s bold leadership balanced the budget, reformed welfare, helped create millions of new jobs. The Gingrich jobs plan: a powerful plan for growing our economy and creating jobs.”

But just before the Iowa caucuses, Gingrich vowed to keep his ads “happy and positive” even when his campaign moved into this contrast phase.

“Our ads are all going to be very happy and positive; we don’t do anything negative. All we have to say in a happy and positive way is Newt believes in defining the second amendment, here’s what Romney said about guns,” Gingrich told reporters in Burlington, Iowa, earlier this week.

Keeping the ads “factually accurate,” at least by his standards, is very important to Gingrich, who was heavily attacked by Romney, as well as many other candidates, the weeks leading up to the first-in-the-nation caucus.

“As long as it’s factually accurate, it can’t be seen as a negative campaign to describe accurately somebody’s record,” Gingrich said the day of the Iowa caucus.

The campaign will not confirm the size of this TV buy, but does say it is "significant" and will continue to run similar “contrast” ads in the early nominating states.