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Rick Santorum, Super PAC, Spend Big On Michigan Primary

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NEW YORK -- Former Sen. Rick Santorum's presidential campaign and his allied super PAC are putting all their chips into Michigan in hopes that a win there catapults him to victories later in the primary calendar.

A Democratic source sends over details, obtained from an ad tracker, of the television ad purchases being made by the Santorum campaign and the super PAC, Red White and Blue Fund, along with those being made by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his allied super PAC, Restore our Future.

The data underscores the huge cash advantage that Romney and his backers enjoy over his nearest opponents -- a disparity that has played out on the airwaves as well. But it also gives a peek into the mindset at Santrum's campaign headquarters and reveals much about the judgments being made by his main backer, Foster Friess.

Rather than spread its limited resources over the next critical states, Team Santorum is betting big on Michigan, in part because the state, like Arizona, will hold its primary one week before Super Tuesday, but also because it may be an easier grab. Romney has firm roots in the state, owing to his father's time as its governor, but recent polls show Santorum with a decent-sized lead. The former senator's heavy focus on reinvigorating American manufacturing also creates a nice contrast with Romney's muddled position on the auto bailout.

Below is a breakdown of the Romney v. Santorum numbers, with the date of the election next to the state. The source who passed them along noted that this is money spent for "reserved" advertising. "It's all new, so it's for spots over next couple weeks."

Michigan (February 28)
Romney and Restore our Future -- $3.2 million
Santorum and Red White and Blue Fund -- $1.1 Million
Disparity -- 3:1

Arizona (February 28)
Restore our Future -- $640,000
Santorum -- $45,000
Disparity -- 14:1

Ohio (March 6)
Restore our Future -- $830,000
Santorum -- $180,000
Disparity -- 5:1

Georgia (March 6)
Restore our Future -- $650,000
Santorum -- $73,000
Disparity -- 8:1

Oklahoma (March 6)
Restore our Future -- $184,000
Santorum -- $55,000
Disparity -- 3:1

Tennessee (March 6)
Restore our Future -- $435,000 (another $30,000 on radio)
Santorum -- $66,000
Disparity -- 7:1

The numbers listed above don't take into account a Friday morning Politico report that said Restore Our Future was "reserving" anther $2.5 million in additional ad time between February 28 and March 13.

It's important to note that while Santorum is being forced to spend his own campaign funds on TV ads, Romney has had the luxury of letting his allied super PAC foot the bill. That said, it wasn't until recently that Friess and the Red White and Blue Fund decided to try and level the playing field in the Wolverine State. Were he to get the itch to write another significantly-sized check, he could do so in hopes of affecting other critical states. Till that happens, however, Santorum is stuck running a shoestring effort against Romney.

It hasn't hurt his candidacy so far. But then again, until recently, Romney and Restore our Future were spending much of their money going after others in the GOP field.

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