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Craig James unveils Senate ad that lauds Rick Perry

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Former ESPN college football analyst Craig James is out with his first U.S. Senate campaign ad – an ad that surprisingly features about as much praise for a fellow conservative Republican, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, as it does screen time for James.

“Rick Perry changed Texas – cut waste, reduced taxes, put people back to work,” James says in the 30-second ad, which carries the title “Conservative Principles.” “Like Rick Perry, and like you, I know that American can back on track by getting back to the values that made us great.”

The James ad debuts as Perry’s presidential fortunes are fading. In Tuesday’s first-in-the-nation presidential test, Perry finished in fifth place among seven major Republican candidates. The governor told supporters Tuesday night in Iowa that he was returning to Texas to “reassess” his White House bid.

Accompanying the James campaign video on YouTube is this message: “Rick Perry has governed Texas as a principled conservative. And it’s worked. That’s why Texas has created more jobs than any other state and that’s why Americans are flocking to the Lone Star State.”

A few days before Christmas, James left ESPN to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison. His GOP opponents are Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz and former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert.

James, who turned 51 years old Monday, was a star football player at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and for the New England Patriots. He lives in the town of Celina, which is north of Dallas-Fort Worth.

“Texans deserve a leader from ‘Real Street’ who understands what it means to run a business, energize our economy, cut government spending and restore Texas values,” Craig says on his campaign website.

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