If Rick Perry has any hope of getting back in the 2012 race, he'll need to press the one advantage he has over the rest of the field of nibblers -- his war chest. Let's recall that back when the candidates had totaled up their third quarter fundraising numbers, Perry led the field, $17 million of his own to the $14 million-plus that Mitt Romney raised and the $8 million that Ron Paul took home. (Herman Cain, your late October frontrunner, managed a mere $2 million and change, which is perhaps why his advertising is what it is.)
So, what to do with all that cash? First thing: Perry makes a modest ad buy in Iowa. Ben Smith reports that the Perry campaign is spending $262,365 to run this 30-second spot in which he promises to create 2.5 million new jobs, mainly through energy production -- the one consistent refrain his campaign has offered thus far this campaign cycle.
As Shira Schoenberg of the Boston Globe notes, he beats Mitt Romney to the Iowa airwaves with this ad, but not Ron Paul. The libertarian mainstay has already spent a considerable amount waging the air war in Iowa, and this week he flexed those fundraising muscles again -- a five day "money bomb" brought Paul another $3 million.
Perry, however, is stretching his dollar in precisely the way you'd expect from a former Al Gore supporter -- he's reusing and recycling old ads. The shots of Rick Perry strolling through construction sites you'll see after about six seconds in the ad above have been used before. This isn't new for Perry -- if you take a journey back through his old ad roll, you'll see frequent call backs to old spots. As the Texas Tribune reported back in July, this is largely because Perry, for most of his career, has worked "with the same team of strategists who've known and worked with the governor for years" and "they know his comfort zone." (Your recycled B-roll comes at about 1:05 in the video below, which depicts an old campaign ad.)
Of course, for his White House run, Perry had looked to be changing things up, picking up the Michael Bay of political advertising, Lucas Baiano from the defunct Tim Pawlenty campaign. The first spot Baiano developed opened up a whole new cinematic frontier for Perry (and utilized the theme music from the Saw torture-porn franchise):
(As you can see, even Baiano uses that B-roll shot -- look at the 1:05 mark.)
But that was the high point of the early part of his candidacy, before multiple low-quality debate performances sent his poll numbers reeling. So, it seems that Perry's going back to his comfort zone, if only for a moment.
Still, it's probably a good idea for Perry to shy away from any previous footage that has ended up in the Bad Lip Reading lampoon -- as his new ad fails to do.
UPDATE, 3:13pm: Maggie Haberman's eagle eyes pick out the fact that the new Perry ad is missing part of a "required FEC disclaimer." Details here. The Perry campaign tells Haberman says they'll send out "an updated version of the spot today" to ensure they are "in total compliance."