How the GOP is making a political comeback with the ‘Big Three’
By By LINDSEY S. O’NEIL, Associated Press Washington (AP) Republicans are making a comeback in the presidential primary with new ads, a fresh attack on the Democratic presidential candidate and a strong showing among Republican-leaning voters.
The Republican National Committee’s first ad airing Tuesday in Iowa shows Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a favorite of conservatives, standing with his wife, Meghan, and the two daughters, Meagan and Chloe.
A narrator says, “Marco Rubio is not just a Republican, he is a man of character.
He is a true American patriot.
The voters deserve a champion like Marco Rubio.”
The ad ends with Rubio standing with the family, holding a flag and holding a sign with his name on it.
The spot is part of a concerted effort by the GOP to portray Rubio as the party’s standard-bearer.
The Rubio campaign declined to comment on the ad, citing a policy of not discussing advertising with the Associated Press.
The GOP’s bid to win back the presidency is in a slump after the Iowa caucuses.
But Republicans are pushing forward, and new polling from Quinnipiac University shows the race tightening in the final week of the primary season.
A CBS News/New York Times survey shows the candidates leading the field by six points, 49 percent to 44 percent, among likely voters in Iowa.
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas leads with 34 percent.
Democrats have the advantage among likely Iowa caucus-goers with 40 percent, followed by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont with 25 percent.
Republican U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is among the front-runners in New Hampshire, a state where she’s been a rising star and has a lead in polls of the state that could narrow to a few points in the coming weeks.
She and Cruz, along with Rubio, are among the top Republican candidates in New Jersey, where Haley is polling in the double digits.
“The GOP is on a winning streak.
That’s why we’re here,” Haley said in a statement.
“We’re ready to be the champion of the American people.
That means making sure that we get the president we deserve and the people we need to get the job done.”
GOP strategists said the ads are a continuation of the campaign that has already taken off since the election.
“They’re coming in and saying, ‘You’re a big part of the problem here,'” said former RNC chairman Reince Priebus.
“I’m not going to sit here and say we’re doing it well, but we’re definitely doing it very well.”
The ads were coordinated by Republican National Chairman Reince Barac, who said he expects to see a similar level of advertising in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada as well as other states.
“It’s the same type of message that they’ve been sending throughout the primary, and it’s the kind of message I think will resonate with the voters,” Barac said.
“So I think they’ll continue to get their message out.”
He noted that many of the same groups have been targeting Democratic candidates, including President Barack Obama, and that the GOP has been able to win with that strategy.
The ad also shows Rubio saying he’s the “best president” on national security, and is an advocate for working families.
“He’s a fighter,” Rubio says.
“A fighter for America.”
The Rubio ad is part on a Republican effort to make Rubio a favorite among conservatives, the group that propelled him to victory in the Iowa caucus last year.
In the ad released Tuesday, Rubio says, “[W]e don’t have to work for you.
We’re going to fight for you and give you a chance to win.
You’re not going anywhere.”
The GOP has focused on Rubio’s record as Florida governor, and he has been a frequent target of attacks.
The campaign has said it will air several additional ads during the month of May and that Rubio has been campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Rubio has made no secret of his disdain for the Republican establishment and said he will challenge Obama and other Democrats in November.
“When you talk about the party establishment, you’re not talking about a lot of people in the Republican Party, which is the largest in the country,” Rubio said.
He’s also made a point of focusing on the issues, including abortion, immigration and health care.
“And I think that will resonate, and I think it will resonate for people,” Rubio told MSNBC on Tuesday.
Rubio’s campaign also released a TV ad on Tuesday, and an online campaign called “Save Our Future” was launched to help Republicans win back control of the House of Representatives.
The group, which aims to persuade swing voters to back the GOP in November, is running a series of videos highlighting GOP lawmakers’ positions and criticizing some of the candidates, from Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri to Rep. Joe Barton of Texas.
It said the videos will be running on social media for the next two