Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt (search) began airing his first television ad in South Carolina Thursday, using a biographical commercial that has run in Iowa and New Hampshire.

In the 30-second spot titled, "Struggled," the former House minority leader talks about the struggles his middle-class family went through to send him to college.

"I owe them more than I can say," Gephardt tells a group of people sitting on a porch. "It's people like my folks who make America great. I won't forget them as president."

Gephardt has been using radio ads for more than a month in South Carolina, which has the first-in-the-South presidential primary Feb. 3.

His television message debuted three days after rival Wesley Clark (search) hit the airwaves in the state. North Carolina Sen. John Edwards (search) began his ad campaign in August and Howard Dean (search) also ran television spots here briefly.

Gephardt spokeswoman Kim Molstre would not say how much the Missouri congressman is spending on the ads. "It's a significant statewide buy" that is running indefinitely, she said.

Edwards has spent more than $600,000 on South Carolina ads and Clark will spend $200,000 here, his state campaign director said.

Iowa holds its caucuses Jan. 19 and New Hampshire's primary is Jan. 27.