BOSTON – Republican Mitt Romney, flush with cash from early fundraising, this week will air his first presidential campaign ad to introduce himself to voters in several early voting states.
The 60-second spot describes the former Massachusetts governor as a "business legend" who "rescued the Olympics" and "turned around a Democratic state."
Romney himself adds: "This is not a time for more talk and dithering in Washington. It's a time for action."
The ad is set to air starting Wednesday in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Michigan and Florida.
It is the first ad by a top-tier contender in a campaign experts believe will cost more than $1 billion by the time it ends in November 2008.
Fellow Republican Duncan Hunter, a California congressman staging a long-shot bid for the presidency, aired the first ad of either major party last week with a limited buy in South Carolina, North Carolina and South Dakota.
Recent national polls have shown Romney behind two other leading Republicans, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Romney, a venture capitalist before he helped Salt Lake City restore the 2002 Winter Olympics after a bid-rigging scandal, has conceded he has ground to make up as he competes against candidates with near 100-percent name identification among voters.
Romney has been aggressively raising money during the opening 45 days of his campaign, taking in $6.5 million at his first event on Jan. 9 and adding more than $2.4 million since — in part to help him buy TV ads.
"These ads are aimed at telling interested voters exactly who Mitt Romney is and why he is the right choice as our next president," Romney spokesman Kevin Madden said in an e-mail. "Our goal was to show Governor Romney unplugged and get people as close to being on the campaign trail with him as you can get."
Madden refused to reveal the cost or scope of the ad buy, except to say both the full ad and an abridged, 30-second version will air in "select markets" in the five states.