With the exception of debates, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and other Republican presidential hopefuls routinely ignore Ron Paul on the campaign trail. That's largely because they don't regard him as a serious rivel for the GOP nomination.
But there's at least one reason that the other members of the GOP presidential field should take Paul more seriously: He's raising and spending serious campaign cash.
Case in point: Paul's campaign announced today that he's spending $1 million on a TV ad buy launching tonight in Florida—one of the biggest investments of the 2012 election so far.
The spot, which runs roughly a minute, details Paul's work on behalf of military veterans and touches on his own biography as a veteran. The message is no doubt meant to soften a key negative for Paul among conservative primary voters: his strongly anti-war policy profile.
You can watch the ad below, courtesy of the Paul campaign:
The ad will air before tonight's GOP primary debate in Florida, and according to the campaign, the spot will soon go live in other key primary states, including New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada and Iowa.
Paul's strategy highlights what could be his biggest strength in the primary: His ability to raise and spend lots of money. Should he decide to target that cash in running ads against his opponents in a more meaningful way, Paul could potentially play the role of spoiler against a GOP rival--in much the same way that Mike Huckabee's attacks against Mitt Romney in 2008 helped boost John McCain's campaign.
Paul has already proven he's willing to target his rivals. Earlier this month, he ran an ad mentioning Rick Perry's past support of Al Gore.