Ron Paul thinks now is the time to make his move

By Kim Geiger.  Fresh off a $2 million-plus fundraising day, Ron Paul is planning an advertising blitz in four early voting states in an effort to build momentum for his 2012 presidential bid.

The Texas congressman is a longshot for the GOP nomination. Paul’s support in the polls has hovered in the single digits and low teens for the entire campaign. But he’s managed to draw heavily on grassroots fundraising, making him the third-ranking fundraiser in the GOP field.

Paul’s campaign thinks now is the time to spend big.

The strategy, according to spokesman Jesse Benton, is to get on the airwaves now, while they’re quiet.

“We also think other candidates aren’t going [on the air] right now,” Benton said. “There’s going to be a certain din toward the end where you’re going to have outside expenditures – it’s going to be a little harder to get the message heard.”

Paul will be the first of the GOP presidential candidates to come out with a major ad campaign. He’ll spend more than $2 million over the next four weeks, much of it on television advertising. The ads will air in Iowa and New Hampshire as well as South Carolina and Nevada. (Videos below.)

One ad calls Paul “a visionary who predicted the financial crisis.” Another warns that “America is in trouble,” and casts Paul as the only consistent candidate in the race.

Paul has run for president twice before – as a Libertarian in 1988 and as a Republican in 2008 – and has generally been dismissed as a fringe candidate. But if there was ever a time that Paul’s message might gain traction, now seems to be it, as voters appear dissatisfied with the political establishment and the weak GOP primary field.

On Monday, Paul unveiled his “Plan to Restore America,” which would, among other things, cut $1 trillion from the federal government in one year, eliminate five cabinet departments, and lower the corporate tax rate to 15%. As a symbolic gesture, the plan cuts the president’s salary from $400,000 to $39,336, the average median income of an American worker.

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