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Eyeing the next generation

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney 's latest ad reminds voters of his commitment to family values after a week in which his faith has come under attack.
/ Source: National Journal

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Republican presidential hopeful 's latest ad reminds voters of his commitment to family values after a week in which his faith has come under attack.

The former Massachusetts governor spent much of last week condemning push polls in Iowa and New Hampshire that criticized his Mormon faith. NBC/National Journal's Erin McPike reports that Romney responded to the situation while in Las Vegas on Friday, "invok[ing] Thanksgiving by saying that the attacks on religion, at a time when Americans are preparing to celebrate the holiday, are 'un-American.'"

Meanwhile, in the new 30-second TV spot, Romney and his wife, Ann, discuss their beliefs on family while sitting in a kitchen with a handful of people listening attentively. "The future of this country is more affected by the work that goes on within the four walls of the home than anything else," he says. Home movies of Romney's sons, who have been actively campaigning for their father, are interspersed throughout the ad as the candidate tells the group that faith, love of country and determination should be instilled in children. "That's how we raised our boys," Ann adds. "Knowing that they were the focus."

Romney has been honing his message of family values for months on the campaign trail and in other radio and TV ads. Still, some observers believe the issue of his Mormon faith could prove to be Romney's Achilles' heel. His advisers have counseled him against giving a speech on his religion, even though questions about how it might influence a Romney administration continue to persist. Former Arkansas Gov. , a Southern Baptist minister, has been gaining on Romney in family-friendly Iowa, but the former Massachusetts governor's lead remains fairly wide in New Hampshire.

Giuliani's Other Jobs
's inaugural TV ad last week focused on his work as New York City mayor, but in his second TV spot he wants voters to know that's not the only position of importance he's held.

In the ad, Giuliani discusses his experience as a U.S. attorney and a Justice Department official during the Reagan administration. He opens by stating boldly that he's "had the most leadership experience of anyone that's running" -- a charge that appears to be a response to a previous Romney ad of the same name. The ad ends with the same closing sequence as his first spot, with Giuliani telling voters that his experience handling crises should trump his perceived imperfections.

In recent weeks, the Giuliani camp has launched an effort to highlight the former mayor's legal experience, but the campaign was slightly derailed by the indictment of former New York City Police Chief Bernard Kerik. And although Giuliani has recently downplayed winning early primary states, the ad is airing in New Hampshire, where Giuliani still trails Romney. Reports out today also indicate Giuliani may not have given up on Iowa just yet, either.

Wooing women voters
Female voters are lining up behind New York Sen. in the race for the Democratic nomination for president. But with a slew of new platforms aimed at improving family life and a new ad on education policy, Illinois Sen. is seeking to bring at least a portion of this important Democratic bloc into his camp.

As in previous ads, Obama does not hesitate to get personal with his audience. "My parents weren't rich. My father left me when I was very young," he begins in the new spot. But, Obama says, "the one thing I was able to get was a great education." The ad then introduces several tenets of Obama's plan for education policy, including proposals to "expand early childhood education" and "recruit a new generation of teachers." The senator also points out that "government alone is not going to solve the problem." He urges parents to "turn off the television and instill in our children a sense of excellence."

Education has not garnered much attention on the campaign trail thus far, as candidates have focused most of their attention on foreign policy and other domestic issues like health care, but it's an issue that resonates deeply with women of all demographics, AP reports.