New Romney ad: "Conservative Agenda"

With Iowa perhaps within Mitt Romney’s reach, his campaign has rolled out a new ad underscoring his commitment to conservative goals once he reaches the White House. The 30-second spot will go into rotation in Iowa, presumably today, at the same time that Romney and Newt Gingrich will start bus tours — a move that the National Journal analyzes with an appropriate Star Trek reference:

I am going to do something to government. I’m going to make it ‘Simpler, and Smaller, and Smarter.’ Getting rid of programs, turning programs back to states, and finally making government itself more efficient. I’m going to get rid of Obamacare.

It is a moral imperative for America to stop spending more money than we take in. It’s killing jobs and it’s keeping our kids from having the bright prospects they deserve. The experience of balancing budgets is desperately needed in Washington and I will take it there.

These are all the things that conservatives want to hear. The question will be whether Iowa conservatives — and conservatives elsewhere — will believe Romney when he says them. In New Hampshire, Romney’s lead still looks secure, so the Granite State’s Republicans remain comfortable that he will:

Mitt Romney holds onto his sizeable lead in New Hampshire with 39 percent of the vote, according to a new Boston Globe poll released Sunday.

Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul are tied for second place, with each garnering 17 percent of the vote among the state’s likely Republican voters.

Jon Huntsman is the only other candidate to break into double-digits with 11 percent of support. All other candidates are in the single digits.

Of the 529 likely primary voters polled, 400 of them are registered Republicans — and that’s where Romney scores best, with 46% of the respondents.  Gingrich comes in second at 19%, and Paul third at 13%.  Paul gets the independents, 36/25 over Romney, with Jon Huntsman a close third at 22% and Gingrich in the soup at 7%.  Paul and Huntsman finish first and second among Democrats, 26/21.  Romney also scores best with Tea Party adherents, 44/24 over Gingrich, with Paul trailing aat 14%.  Romney wins 42% of the women, 39% of Protestants, 45% of Catholics, and 47% among those who attend religious services at least once a week — leading significantly in all of those demographics.

With New Hampshire secure, Romney has decided to finally hit the ground in Iowa:

In the end, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich decided that resistance was futile and maybe even counter-productive. A week before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, the two are finally about to launch bus tours of the state. …

Romney has been tending to his firewall in New Hampshire and trying to seem like he’s not working too hard in Iowa lest he be embarrassed on caucus night. Gingrich has played the VIP celeb, counting mainly on debates to make him a contender.

That’s changing this week in the final stretch. Romney gives a speech Tuesday night in Davenport and launches a three-day bus tour the next morning.  Gingrich and his wife Callista will be riding a bus for the duration. Their “Jobs and Prosperity” tour starts Tuesday with 11 stops in its first three days.

Romney may not have spent much time in Iowa, but he’s spent plenty of money on organization, as well as media saturation this month.  A three-day tour will give him some earned media and remind Iowa voters that he cares about how he finishes in the state.  The dearth of his Iowa campaigning thus far might actually play in Romney’s favor, as the novelty of his tour will probably get him more air time on local TV coverage this month.  That helps Romney again if conservatives feel that they can trust him to remain true to his campaign promises — and whether or not Romney’s competitors can maintain their credibility as long-haul candidates in the final week.