A shadowy photo of Mitt Romney labeled "Blood Money" is featured in a Web ad hitting Florida voters leading up to today’s Republican primary. Winning Our Future, the pro-Newt Gingrich Super PAC behind the ads, has spent more than $1 million on online advertising and email in January. About half that money has gone towards Florida ads attacking Romney, Gingrich’s biggest primary threat.
The ads link to MittsBloodMoney.com, which labels Romney a "serial flip flopper" and a "progressive." It also features a lengthy video that implies that while at Bain Capital, Romney was "at the center of one of the greatest Medicare frauds of the 1990s." The site encourages people to sign up to "get involved" with Winning Our Future.
Between January 10 and January 27, the independent expenditure group spent $1.17 million on Internet advertising and email, according to Federal Election Commission reports analyzed by ClickZ Politics. Winning Our Future included email expenses with web ad spending reports filed with the FEC.
Meanwhile Romney-backing Super PAC Restore Our Future has done its own share of Gingrich-bashing, as has the Romney campaign itself. In recent days, ads spotted on Florida sites declared, "Florida families suffered. Newt cashed in." The display ads led to a page featuring a TV spot that calls into question Gingrich's work for Freddie Mac.
"Gingrich was paid over $1.6 million by the scandal ridden agency that helped create the crisis," states the TV spot, which also implies that a Gingrich nomination would benefit President Barack Obama's reelection campaign.
The Obama camp also has made a point of playing online in Florida. Last week, Obama for America took over the homepage of OrlandoSentinel.com, a key Florida news site, spreading the same jobs message he did the day of the South Carolina primary.
In an effort to interject the President's jobs message into the dominant GOP primary conversation, the ad featured an animated graph image illuminating U.S. job growth data, and stated that the administration has created "3.1 million jobs" and presided over "22 straight months of private sector job growth."
Near-identical ads ran on the homepage of Charleston news site ThePostAndCourier.com on the day of the South Carolina primary. However, while the Obama camp bought news site homepages the day of each GOP caucus and primary thus far, it appears that no national homepage takeovers are running on Florida sites today, as sunshine state Republicans go to the polls. Similar ad creative has been spotted today on sites like Orlando's Central Florida News 13 and Tampa Bay area Bay News 9.
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.