Ron Paul Buys Time in Michigan, Potentially Boosting Romney

Ron Paul is once again going after Rick Santorum's record as a fiscal conservative in a new ad, potentially giving Mitt Romney a boost in the process.

The 30-second ad titled "Fake," which follows up a similar ad released in January, blasts Santorum for increasing the size of government by voting  "to raise the debt ceiling five times," "doubling the size of the Department of Education" and for voting "to send billions of our tax dollars to dictators in North Korea and Egypt."

The ad even criticizes Santorum for hooking Planned Parenthood "with a few million bucks."

The "Fake" ad is scheduled to begin airing this weekend in Michigan, which could provide a valuable boost to Mitt Romney, who is locked in a dead heat with rival Rick Santorum in that state.

Ron Paul and Mitt Romney reportedly have a friendly relationship, which Romney has worked to cultivate.

"I talk to Romney more than the rest on a friendly basis,"   Paul told the New York Times.

The two are veterans of the 2008 Republican primary, and when Romney got himself into trouble in New Hampshire over his comments about leveraged buyouts, Paul came to his defense by issuing a press release assailing his rivals for taking Romney's quote about firing people out of context.

And Paul rarely criticizes Romney on the stump but instead  refers to him vaguely in mentions of "the governor's millions made on Wall Street."

Paul's aides say publicly that the congressman is committed to winning the nomination.

And over the weekend, Paul said that his rivals "are part of the status quo and they are not change.

"They don't want to really change anything. That's what I'm offering," said Paul.

But the Paul campaign's announcement Tuesday that it has raised about $4.5 million in January is proof that the congressman has formidable financial resources for an extended nomination  fight.