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Romney spending $85,000-plus a day on TV ads

  • Story Highlights
  • Mitt Romney has spent record amount on TV ads at this point in a presidential bid
  • Sen. Barack Obama has spent the most on TV ads out of Democratic candidates
  • Ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, GOP front-runner, has not yet turned to TV ads
  • Sen. Hillary Clinton, Bill Richardson have both spent $2.2 million-plus on ads
  • Next Article in Politics »
By Mark Preston
CNN Political Editor
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has spent $10.2 million on television advertising this year -- a record amount at this point in a presidential campaign -- according to new data provided to CNN.

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Presidential campaign commercials for Mitt Romney have aired more than 14,500 times.

Romney is spending more than $85,000 a day -- $600,000 last week alone -- on campaign commercials, according to TNSMI/Campaign Media Analysis Group, CNN's consultant on political television advertising spending.

His presidential campaign commercials have aired more than 14,500 times.

The closest Republican to Romney in ad spending is Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who has aired more than $300,000 worth of campaign ads.

In the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois is leading the way with about $3.9 million spent on campaign commercials.

"Advertising is still by and large a one man band, with Romney leading the way with his record pace," said Evan Tracey, chief operating officer of Campaign Media Analysis Group.

The former Massachusetts governor has concentrated his ad buys in the first three early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. But in recent months, Romney also has targeted Florida -- the most populous state to vote before "Super Tuesday" in February.

His commercials largely have touted his conservative credentials and highlighted his experience as a successful businessman and governor.

The investment has helped Romney maintain a clear lead in Iowa and position himself strongly in the other early voting states. But Romney's opponents are now starting to ramp up their media buys.

McCain is focusing his television commercials on New Hampshire, hoping to repeat history with a win in the Granite State like he did in 2000. Former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas also are turning to television to promote their candidacies.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the GOP front-runner in most national polling, has not yet turned to TV. Unlike his rivals, Giuliani is putting more emphasis on a long-term strategy that takes into account Florida, with a January 29 primary, and the delegate-rich states voting February 5.

"Giuliani apparently has decided to hold his fire until Florida at the end of the month and then February 5, which explains why he hasn't begun a TV campaign," said Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report. "It is a risky strategy given Romney's efforts to sweep the early contests. But it could pay off if -- after the South Carolina primary -- the GOP race is fractured."

Obama has focused most of his television ad buys in Iowa, where his campaign commercials have aired more than 5,000 times. Tied for second in terms of ad spending among Democrats are Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson -- both have spent more than $2.2 million. This month, former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina also began airing television ads in Iowa, and he is spending about $400,000 a week.

"Obama, Richardson and Edwards understand that they need to derail Clinton in Iowa to demolish the conventional wisdom that she is unbeatable," Rothenberg said. "It is entirely reasonable that they are going for broke early in the calendar."

Most of the campaign commercials have been directed at Iowa and New Hampshire voters despite moves by some states to hold their primaries in the first few weeks of the nominating calendar, and an effort by national Democrats to increase the influence of Nevada and South Carolina in the nomination process.

"All the talk about shifting primary dates has basically put us back to where we have always been, which is a two-state advertising contest with Iowa and New Hampshire," Tracey said. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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