Mitt Romney will soon run campaign advertisements on Pennsylvania television, a Republican source told CNN on Tuesday. The Romney campaign later released an energy-themed ad which specifically mentions Pennsylvania.
Romney's campaign plans to go up next week in Philadelphia on Monday and Tuesday -- Election Day, the source said, adding that the buy could be expanded.
The Philadelphia suburbs are key counties and could determine who wins the state. They are home to middle-income and affluent voters who are conservative on fiscal issues but liberal on social issues, including abortion and gun control.
The ad opens with a clip of Obama from a 2008 interview with the The San Francisco Chronicle in which he says, "If somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can -- it's just that it will bankrupt them."
The narrator says that he "kept that promise" and that "Mitt Romney's energy plan is different."
"And, by the way, I like coal," Romney says in footage taken from the first presidential debate between he and Obama. Romney can be seen looking in Obama's direction while the president is looking away from the camera. "People in the coal industry feel like it's getting crushed by your policies. I want to get America and North America energy independent so we can create those jobs."
A fact check conducted in May by the organization Politifact said "Obama made clear in the interview that he was not suggesting an end to coal use," and favored no new coal-fired power plant construction. "So what we have to do then is we have to figure out how can we use coal without emitting greenhouse gases and carbon," Obama says at another point in the interview cited by the fact checking site.
Polls released earlier this month showed the race between President Barack Obama and Romney was close in the Keystone state, with each giving an edge, though sometimes slight, to the incumbent. The most recent survey, conducted by the Philadelphia Inquirer between October 23 and 25, found Obama at 49% and Romney at 43%. A Quinnipiac University poll conducted from October 12 through 14 showed Obama at 50% and Romney at 46%. The difference was similarly small in the Muhlenberg College poll, which had Obama at 49% and Romney ad 45% from October 10 through 14, and the Siena College sample: Obama 43%, Romney 40% between October 1 and 5.
After news of the Romney ad buy emerged, Obama's campaign pointed to polling numbers to argue the GOP candidate was bluffing about his chances there.
Pennsylvania is rated as lean Democrat on the CNN Electoral Map. Its electoral votes -- 20 this year -- last went to a Republican in 1988. In 2008, Obama won it with an 11-point margin.
The source did not yet have an amount for the buy.
Only $193,000 has been spent on presidential campaign ads in the last 60 days in Pennsyvlania, according to ad tracker Kantar Media CMAG. The majority of that, almost $164,000, was spent by groups aligned with Democrats, while Republican-aligned groups have spent almost $30,000.
A memo from Romney campaign political director Rich Beeson sent to reporters Tuesday said the GOP presidential effort "has the resources to expand the map in ways that weren't possible in past cycles (without reducing any effort in any other target state)."
"Pennsylvania presents a unique opportunity for the Romney campaign," the memo read. "Over the past few years we have seen Pennsylvania voting for a Republican senator and a Republican governor, and Republicans win control of the State House in addition to the State Senate. The western part of the Keystone State has become moreconservative (and President Obama's war on coal is very unpopular there), and Mitt Romney is more competitive in the voter-rich Philadelphia suburbs than any Republican nominee since 1988. This makes Pennsylvania a natural next step as we expand the playing field."
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina followed with a statement, saying Republicans are "throwing money at states where they never built an organization and have been losing for two years. Let's be very clear, the Romney campaign and its allies decision to go up with advertising in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Minnesota is a decision made out of weakness, not strength."
"Governor Romney has not been able to put away a single battleground state - in fact, as polls in the past day have showed the candidates tied in North Carolina, Republicans have raced to increase their television advertising there," he added, calling it "desperation."
Earlier this month, politics watchers' eyebrows raised when the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is tasked with electing Republicans to the U.S. Senate, announced it would invest in advertising for the Republican looking to unseat Democratic Sen. Bob Casey.