Perry's Latest Target: Santorum

Perry takes aim at Santorum as the former Pennsylvania senator surges in Iowa.

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry is taking aim at Rick Santorum in a tongue-in-cheek new radio ad which blasts the former Pennsylvania senator for supporting earmarks during his years in Congress. The spot highlights how Santorum—a nonfactor in the race as recently as a few weeks ago—has become a fat target for fellow candidates.

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The ad accuses Santorum of trying to get more than $1 billion in earmarks over his years in Congress, and for voting for the so-called "Bridge to Nowhere," the 2005 proposed bridge in Alaska which became a symbol of wasteful government projects. To support the ad the Perry's campaign points to a white paper from the conservative group The Club for Growth which gave Santorum high marks in most areas, but claimed he had a "mixed record" on spending.

The radio ad continues a theme which Perry has stuck to as he makes his final push for Iowa. In another TV ad, Perry blasted four of his opponents—Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul—for being part of the problem in Washington.

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While this radio ad focuses on Perry's image as an outsider to Washington, the politics behind it hinge heavily on religious voters. Perry and Santorum are both battling for Iowa's religious conservative vote, which has often been crucial in the Iowa Caucus. With Santorum jumping ahead of Perry in the latest Rasmussen poll, the senator may be the biggest threat to Perry's hopes of a respectable finish in the Hawkeye state.

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