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Claiming momentum, Romney launches ad in Pennsylvania

Four years ago, Barack Obama said building a coal-powered plant will bankrupt you. Now, 22 Pennsylvania coal facilities will close or convert. Mitt Romney will support coal and get North America energy independent.


DAYTON, OH — Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney will launch ads in Pennsylvania before the election to bolster what the GOP calls an effort to build upon momentum in the Democratic-leaning state. 

NBC News ad-tracking sources report the Romney campaign has bought only $120,000 in ad time, which the Republican National Committee said covers only Nov 5-6 — next Monday and Election Day itself. But the new effort is Romney's first foray into Pennsylvania since GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan held an airport rally near Pittsburgh on Oct. 20. Romney last campaigned in Pennsylvania in late Sept.

The Romney campaign said Tuesday that this effort marked an expanded capacity for the former Massachusetts governor to win a more reliably blue state. But the buy, for now, is only for Johnstown-Altoona (central PA) and Philadelphia, which is a small buy given the expensive Philly TV market. 

Romney joins Restore Our Future, a supportive super PAC, in advertising in Pennsylvania. The super PAC's move prompted President Barack Obama's campaign to make its own ad buy in the state, spending at least $1.3 million on broadcast and cable in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh from Wednesday through Election Day. The size of that ad buy could expand. 

The Romney campaign released a copy of a new ad, entitled "Crushed by your policies," which focuses on coal miners in western Pennsylvania. That spot could have crossover appeal into swing territory in eastern Ohio, where the economy also relies on coal.

The Romney campaign's released a memo accompanying news of its ad buy, arguing that the new ad was evidence that Romney would be going on offense in the Keystone State, which last voted for a Republican in 1988.

"With one week to go, and 96 percent of the vote on the table on Election Day in Pennsylvania, this expansion of the electoral map demonstrates that Governor Romney’s momentum has jumped containment from the usual target states and has spread to deeper blue states that Chicago never anticipated defending," Romney campaign political director Rich Beeson wrote in the memo.

The Obama campaign quickly fired back with a memo of their own, and arguing that the late game effort by the Romney campaign to compete in traditionally blue states indicated fear in Boston that Romney would lose Ohio, a state he's campaigned in more than any other, and in which many independent analysts agree his political fortunes may yet rest.

“Three things are now absolutely clear in this race – we have a significant early vote advantage in states from North Carolina to Nevada, there is no Romney momentum in the battleground states, and the Romney campaign has found itself with a tremendously narrow and improbable path to 270 electoral votes," Obama campaign manager Jim Messina wrote. "Now, like Republicans did in 2008, they are throwing money at states where they never built an organization and have been losing for two years.  Let’s be very clear, the Romney campaign and its allies decision to go up with advertising in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Minnesota is a decision made out of weakness, not strength."

Vice President Joe Biden was set to campaign in Pennsylvania this week, but the trip was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy.