Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is flexing his burgeoning war chest and spending big money to highlight his years of military service.
The Texas congressman’s third TV ad, “A Veteran’s Best Friend,” transposes two Vietnam veterans discussing their nightmarish existences at the time; hand-to-hand combat and witnessing death during the battle.
”We had never been thanked for our years of service,” one of the U.S. Army veterans said.
The ad then shows the men holding their service medals as they smile and thank Paul for his help in securing them. “He thanked us for our service and shook our hand and gave us a hug and that will always be there,” one of the veterans said.
Paul, a physician, has reportedly made it a point to help service members in his district secure medals. He has often presented the medals in person.
The 60-second ad marks a turning point for the campaign, which until now has reluctantly discussed Paul’s military past.
He served as a flight surgeon in the United States Air Force from 1963 to 1965 and then in the United States Air National Guard from 1965 to 1968.
Paul, 76, was asked during a WMUR-TV “Meet the Candidate” special earlier this year why he has not highlighted his years of service in the U.S. military. At the time, he was the only candidate in the race with a military background.
Paul smiled, started laughing, looked up and said that his staff keeps reminding him to do so. He went on to say that being drafted was a burden to him and his family, but it was a worthwhile experience in the end.
Paul sits on the House Foreign Relations Committee and has spent years preaching a non-interventionist philosophy.
Despite Paul’s libertarian leanings, he has done well among members of the military.
As of June 30, some of Paul’s largest campaign contributions were by those who identify their employer as being the U.S. military.
The campaign says the new TV ad will appear on FOX News during tonight’s debate and will soon start running in the early primary states of New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina. This is Paul’s first major advertising buy in South Carolina.
The campaign also says the ad is part of a $1 million television push, one of the largest buys of the campaign. Recent ad buys have been in the “six figures.”
The Paul campaign is still proving that it can raise big amounts of cash online. The campaign raised more than $1 million this past week through the use of “moneybombs,” or one-day cash grabs.