The Ad War Heats Up: How Religion Is Playing in Iowa

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Somewhat lost in the Newt Gingrich supernova is the fact that Rick Perry still has something the other fallen front-runners of 2011 lack: a big pot of campaign money that he can use to cause mischief on the airwaves in early primary states. As National Journal reports, he’s planning a last stand of sorts in Iowa, where’s he’s begun to creep back up in the polls, buying $1.2 million worth of ads in the coming weeks. Based on what the campaign is releasing, here’s what voters will be seeing:

It’s a religion-heavy pitch tailored to the traditional social conservatives of Iowa, but it’s hard to see a ton of upside there. He’s now resigned to scrapping with Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum over what looks to be a less motivated voting bloc this cycle. Just 17% of Iowa voters identified religious beliefs as a “very important” to their vote in a recent poll, and a minority cited opposition to gay marriage and civil unions. Perry and his campaign coffers could still play a significant role in swaying the results there, but this tack seems unlikely to take a big slice out of the Romney-Gingrich-Paul pie.

Romney, meanwhile, is busy making an implicit case against twice-divorced, once-adulterous Catholic convert Newt Gingrich, who’s been swiping his lead almost everywhere:

I’m a man of steadiness and constancy. I don’t think you’re going to find someone who has more of those attributes than I do. I’ve been married to the same woman… for 42 years. I’ve been in the same church my entire life…. If I’m President of the United States, I will be true to my family, to my faith and to our country.