Mitt Romney Leads The Way In Battle Of The Robo-Calls In South Carolina

ABC News' Michael Falcone reports:

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - The telephones of Republican voters in South Carolina are ringing off the hook this week and more often than not its Mitt Romney or one of his allies on the other end of the line.

Some of the automated calls feature Romney's voice while others include the recorded words of top surrogates backing the Massachusetts governor like Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., or South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

One call voters are receiving this week invites South Carolinians to participate in a conference call with McCain on Friday night - the eve of the state's Jan. 21 primary. Another call targets Rick Santorum and yet another encourages voters to go to the polls on Saturday, emphasizing that Romney is not taking the state for granted.

Some of the calls sponsored by the campaign use technology that address individual families by name when someone from the household picks up the phone.

And voters in the conservative northern section of the state are hearing the recorded voice of a woman, who according to the Wall Street Journal, "identifies herself as an anti-abortion leader."

"I know you have heard a lot of folks talking about Mitt's record on life, faith, and marriage while governor of Massachusetts," the woman says, adding that Romney has "worked hard to protect the sanctity of life in liberal Massachusetts." According to the Journal, the "recording says the call was paid for by Romney for President."

Some Palmetto State voters have reported reviving three or more calls a day as the clock ticks down to primary day. One South Carolina local news channel reported that a few residents have been subjected to "as many as 10? phone calls on behalf of candidates in a single day.

And while anecdotal evidence suggests Romney and his supporters have been most active on South Carolina phone lines, other candidates have been dialing too.

Ron Paul's calls attack both Romney and Rick Santorum by name and assert that the Texas congressman is the only true conservative in the race. Newt Gingrich's campaign is robo-ca]lling voters with messages that go after Romney.

But at least one of the candidates has begun using growing voter annoyance with the constant calls as a campaign issue.

"To have these kind of smear campaigns and these smarmy robocalls where they're out there putting out misinformation without any factual basis behind it," Santorum said at a campaign event in Columbia, S.C. Monday morning, "we can do better than this, folks."

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