Santorum super-PAC ads tie GOP opponents to Obama

The pro-Rick Santorum Red, White and Blue Fund super-PAC announced a $257,000, two-day ad buy in Ohio that begins Friday.

One ad hits Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney for backing federal programs President Obama supports.

The ad tries to link Obama to Gingrich for supporting Freddie Mac, arguing that Obama and Gingrich support federally backed mortgage programs. It links Romney and Obama on healthcare, saying the president's plan is very similar to the one put in place in Massachusetts while Romney served as governor.

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“How can Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich beat Barack Obama when on the vital decisions they’re not much different? Like Obama, Gingrich supported individual health insurance mandates and lobbied for Freddie Mac," the voiceover in the ad, "Obama," says. "Mitt created RomneyCare — the blueprint for ObamaCare."

The other ad, "Vital Decisions," which has been airing in Michigan, likewise ties Romney and Obama. It contends that because of their similarities, Romney could not win the general election against Obama.

"How can Mitt Romney beat Barack Obama when on the vital decisions they’re not much different? Like Obama, Romney drastically increased spending," the voiceover in the ad says. "Increased state taxes and fees. Even worse, RomneyCare is the blueprint for ObamaCare. Who can win? Rick Santorum."

The fund announced it had made television ad buys in a number of major Ohio cities: $53,500 in Columbus, $56,000 in Cincinnati, $32,000 in Dayton, $40,500 in Toledo and $75,061 in Cleveland.

The ad buy comes just ahead of the Super Tuesday primaries on March 6, when voters go to the polls in Ohio, Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.

Roughly a week ago, the super-PAC made a major ad buy in Michigan, where Romney and Santorum have been hammering each other ahead of Tuesday's primary.

Santorum, who had held the lead in the polls in Michigan, is hoping that if he can win, it will springboard him to victories on Super Tuesday. Michigan would be a crushing loss for Romney, since it is seen as his home turf. His father served as governor of the state.

Besides the Ohio buy, the super-PAC spent roughly $43,000 supporting Santorum with voter contact mail.

— Rachel Leven contributed reporting.

--This story was originally posted at 9:30 a.m. and has been updated.