Biden super PAC plans to air first TV ad in Iowa next week

The super PAC supporting Joe Biden’s presidential bid plans to air its first television ad in Iowa next week, CNN has learned.

Titled “Courage,” the thirty-second ad from Unite the Country uses audio of a past Biden speech and highlights the former vice president’s early support of same-sex marriage and his work on the Violence Against Women Act and passing an assault weapons ban.

“My mother had an expression. She used to say, ‘Remember Joey, you’re defined by your courage,'” Biden says as footage of a young Biden with his mother and siblings plays. The word “courage” then appears on the screen next to an image of Biden.

“The right to be educated. The right to marry who you choose. The right to live free from the threat of violence and fear. These are basic fundamental, universal human rights. Imagine. Imagine what we could build,” Biden continues on in the ad, before the words “Joe Biden. Unite the Country” appear on screen.

The initial television and digital buy will total at least $650,000, said Steve Schale, executive director of Unite the Country, with more buys expected in Iowa this month. The TV spot will air in the Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Quad Cities and Sioux City markets.

The ad was created by veteran ad-maker Mark Putnam, who parted ways with Biden’s presidential campaign earlier this year and has since signed on to work with the super PAC. In 2015, Putnam made ads for Draft Biden, a group that was urging the former vice president to enter the 2016 race.

Schale said the super PAC conducted focus groups in South Carolina this week and will hold more in Nevada next week as they assess their media strategies for those states.

The release of the TV spot comes as Biden is engaged in an eight day “No Malarkey” bus tour through Iowa and as his campaign is airing its own television and digital advertisements ahead of the state’s caucuses in February. Biden thus far has spent just under $1.7 million on TV ads in Iowa, but he has $2.2 million more in advertisements booked in the state after this week through February, according to data from Kantar Media/CMAG.

Former Biden aides and Democratic strategists launched Unite the Country in October after the Biden campaign posted a weak third quarter fundraising number, which alarmed the former vice president’s allies and supporters.

Biden initially opposed the formation of a super PAC to support his candidacy. But several weeks ago, his campaign reversed course and dropped its objection to assistance from an outside spending group amid anemic fundraising and escalating attacks from President Donald Trump.

CNN’s David Wright contributed to this report.