Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) is once again providing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with a major campaign assist, going up with a 30-second advertisement in Michigan that whacks former Sen. Rick Santorum as a phony conservative.
The ad comes one week before the state's primary, which, until recently, Romney had been widely expected to win. His father served as Michigan governor, and Romney has worked to play up his Michigan roots, but Santorum has surged in the state, climbing to the top of some polls there.
Titled "Fake," the Paul ad highlights Santorum's support for raising the debt ceiling, his backing of the expansion of the Department of Education and his support for No Child Left Behind. It even accuses him of sending billions of dollars in aid to North Korea.
All of these, of course, are fair game, but one could easily knock Romney for similar transgressions. The Paul campaign, however, has chosen to leave the former Massachusetts governor largely untouched.
So far this campaign cycle, the two candidates have had an informal alliance, with neither of them ever really threatening the other. Paul memorably declined to join the chorus in criticizing Romney's tenure at Bain Capital. Romney, in return, has heaped praise on Paul's influence over the GOP platform on all facets, save foreign policy.
The New York Times reported last week on the friendship that has developed between Romney and Paul, dating back to their 2008 runs for the White House. Now, it appears, Paul is going to help drive down Santorum's climbing poll numbers in Michigan, to Romney's benefit.