Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) touts his business experience and his "keen intellectual curiosity" in his first ad of the 2012 election cycle, with a veiled reference to the fact that what he says sometimes gets him into trouble.

"Steve King listens, learns," a voiceover says in the minute-long ad released Monday. "Then when he talks, it might be a little direct, but Steve says what we're thinking."

The ad says that King wakes up at 2:25 a.m. every Monday morning when Congress is in session to drive two hours to the airport and then fly to Washington, D.C.

"Steve King's life has been blood, sweat and, well, ears," the voiceover says later, as video shows the congressman walking through a cornfield. "Listening has made him smart. Life has made him strong."

King is being challenged this year by former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack, a Democrat listed by the Democratic Congressional Committee as a priority in their "Red to Blue" campaign.

Democrats are feeding on King's penchant for controversial statements, although he doesn't see them that way. Within this month, King has criticized the TSA because he saw a "20-year-old Middle Eastern male [waltz] through with a smirk on his face," spoken in support of Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-Minn.) much-condemned search for Muslim Brotherhood infiltrators in the U.S. government and said that diversity isn't helpful to the country.

UPDATE: 11:11 a.m. -- Vilsack campaign spokesman Sam Roecker responded to the ad by questioning King's statement that he says what the people are thinking.

"If Congressman King thinks he's really saying what's on the mind of Iowans', he's more out-of-touch with the people he wants to represent than I thought," he said in an email. "Congressman King should put the fantasy aside and explain to Iowans why he has spent ten years in Congress voting against the middle class. ... Unfortunately for Congressman King, he can't reinvent a ten-year record."

Watch the ad:

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