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Ron Paul’s new Michigan ad says Santorum sent billions to dictators

Mitt Romney is getting a little help from an unexpected source in his tight race against Rick Santorum in Michigan.

Fellow GOP presidential contender Ron Paul's campaign announced Tuesday a new ad hitting Santorum as a "fake" conservative, a week before Michigan's pivotal primary.

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The buy, expected to air on television in the state, should buoy not only the campaign of the Texas congressman but that of Romney, whom polls show is locked in a virtual tie against Santorum.

The Paul ad slams Santorum's fiscal conservative bona fides, noting that as a senator, Santorum voted to raise the federal debt ceiling, double the size of the Department of Education and "send billions of our tax dollars to dictators in North Korea and Egypt."

"Rick Santorum, a fiscal conservative?" the ad asks, before panning to a picture of a Sasquatch holding a sign reading "fake."

“Our new ad ‘Fake’ contains just a snippet of evidence against Rick Santorum being a fiscal conservative, but because these examples are so damning it makes the case convincingly,” said Paul spokesman Jesse Benton. “Santorum touts his ‘conservative record’ all too often. It’s time that his real record makes its way into the national conversation we’re having about which Republican presidential candidate is the authentic, consistent conservative."

A Mitchell/Rosetta Stone poll released Tuesday showed Romney edging Santorum by a 32 percent to 30 percent margin. Paul garnered 7 percent of voters, good for fourth place after Newt Gingrich's 9 percent.

Paul has generally been more critical of Romney's opponents than the presumptive front-runner himself, dismissing Santorum as a "counterfeit conservative" and Gingrich as a "serial hypocrite" in previous commercials.

But Santorum has dismissed Paul's attack ads as leaning heavily on "left-wing" sources.

“Of course left-wing organizations say a lot of bad things about me. I would expect them," Santorum said. "I wear that as a badge of honor, not something that I’m ashamed of.”