A super PAC supporting Ron Paul's bid for the presidency plans to begin airing a television commercial in New Hampshire this weekend that describes how the GOP presidential candidate helped an interracial couple in Texas, where Paul worked as an obstetrician-gynecologist.
Gary Franchi, treasurer of Revolution PAC, said the group has invested $100,000 to put the commercial on major TV networks in the Granite State in advance of Tuesday's first-in-the-nation primary. Franchi said the video was not produced in response to the controversy that has arisen around a newsletter published under his name in the late 1980s and 1990s that contained remarks on race and religion that Paul himself has subsequently disavowed as "terrible." Paul has said the newsletters, which appeared under his name, were written by a ghost-writer.
The carefully staged, meticulously produced video "tells a compelling story that shows [Ron Paul's] compassion," Franchi said. It features an African American man, identified as James Williams of Matagorda County, describing how Paul came to the rescue when he and his wife, who is white, were struggling to get treatment for her at a local hospital in the 1970s. At the time, there was "still a lot of prejudice around this area," Williams says on the video. Franchi told Sunlight that Williams is a Democrat and is due to be interviewed Friday by Fox News' Andrew Napolitano.
A trailer at the end of the web version of the ad gives viewers the option of making a donation and touts the committee's ability to collect large donations: "Super PACs have no contribution limits," it says.
The ad campaign represents a sharply different strategy than those pursued by some super PACs, which have served as attack dogs while allowing the candidates they support to take the high road. Franchi says that Revolution PAC hopes to raise $10 million and remain active in other early-voting states, keeping the emphasis on the positive. Paul, meanwhile, has not been shy about taking aim at his opponents, launching a withering ad campaign in Iowa against Newt Gingrich.
In contrast to some super PACs established in the wake of a series of Supreme Court rulings that opened the door for interest groups to make unlimited donations for political purposes, Revolution PAC is relatively forthcoming about its activities and supporters. On its website, the group names its 12-member advisory board — including Penny Langford Freeman Paul’s political director from 1997-2008 and Joe Becker who served as the chief legal counsel Paul’s 2008 presidential bid — and Franchi offered Sunlight some information about other spending, including $10,000 worth of Google ad purchases. But like most other super PACs, the group, which registered with the Federal Election Commission late last year, has yet to disclose its donors.
Check out the Sunlight Foundation's interactive roster of presidential super PACs here.