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Santorum releases first ad attacking Romney

Rick Santorum released his first campaign ad directly challenging Republican front-runner Mitt Romney on Tuesday, painting the former Massachusetts governor as a relative liberal on issues like healthcare and the economy.

“Obama supported the Wall Street bailouts; so did Romney,” says a narrator, as images of Romney and Obama appear side by side. “Obama gave us radical ObamaCare that was based on RomneyCare. Obama’s a liberal on social issues. Romney once bragged he’s even more liberal than Ted Kennedy on social issues.”

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The ad then portrays Romney as not substantial enough an alternative to the sitting president.

“Why would we ever vote for someone who’s just like Obama, when we can unite around Rick Santorum and beat Obama?" the ad says.

The campaign said the ad would begin airing Wednesday, although it did not disclose the amount of the ad buy. The former Pennsylvania senator trails Romney by double digits in most national and South Carolina polls, but hopes that conservatives in the Palmetto State rally around his campaign at the last minute, much as they did in the Iowa caucuses.