(CNN) - In another signal that he is becoming more aggressive in Iowa, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is going up with his first television commercial in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.
In the 30-second spot, the former Massachusetts governor touts his business world experience, saying "I spent my life in the private sector. I've competed with companies around the world. I've learned something about how it is that economies grow."
Romney, who's making his second bid for the GOP nomination, also says "I'm in favor of cutting spending, capping federal spending as a percentage of GDP at 20 percent or less, and having a balanced budget amendment." And he ends the ad by saying "the right answer for America is to stop the growth of the federal government and to start the growth of the private sector."
The Romney campaign says the ad will begin running on Iowa TV on Thursday, but didn't answer questions about how long the commercial will air and how much money the campaign's spending to run the spot. The commercial is similar to a new Romney campaign ad that is scheduled to begin running on Thursday in New Hampshire. Iowa's January 3 caucuses kick off the presidential primary and caucus calendar, with New Hampshire voting second, one week later.
This past weekend Iowa voters received flyers in their mailboxes promoting Romney's positions on immigration, marriage and other social issues. Those topics are crucial for many of the conservative activists who comprise a large portion of the people who will attend the Republican caucuses.
In one of the flyers, the campaign emphasizes Romney's tough stance on the hot-button issue of immigration, with the handout saying at the top: "Mitt Romney. The strongest Republican to beat Barack Obama and end illegal immigration."
Romney has criticized fellow candidates including Rick Perry, who has supported in-state college tuition for the children of illegal immigrants and has criticized a border fence as ineffective, and Newt Gingrich, who last week at a CNN National Security Debate repeated his support for moving some of the approximately 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States toward some form of legal status as the "humane" option for dealing with the problem.
The Romney campaign recently opened new headquarters in Des Moines, and next week Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey will campaign for Romney in Iowa, a source close to the Romney campaign tells CNN. Many top Republican voices previously urged Christie to run for White House, but in October the New Jersey governor said he would not mount a campaign for the nomination and soon after endorsed Romney.
Romney has only spent six days campaigning in Iowa this year, which pales in comparison to the number of stops he has made in New Hampshire. Last month Romney skipped two high-profile events in Iowa that were attended by most of the other major candidates.
Four years ago Romney went big in Iowa, spending a lot of time and money there. But the strategy backfired when one-time long shot Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, won the January 2008 caucuses. Wounded in Iowa, Romney was then defeated by Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the eventual nominee, one week later in New Hampshire.
Even though he's only made cameo appearances so far in Iowa, until last week Romney was tied at the top of the pack in polls of likely Republican caucuses goers in the Hawkeye State. But the most recent poll, released last week by the American Research Group, indicated a surge by Gingrich, with the former House speaker holding a seven-point margin over Romney, who was in second place in the survey.
"In the closing weeks before the caucuses, we will continue to make the case that Mitt Romney is the best candidate to beat Barack Obama. Mitt Romney has always said that he would campaign and compete in Iowa. He looks forward to participating in the two upcoming Iowa debates," says Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul. "Going on television is just another tool in getting Mitt Romney's message out that Barack Obama has failed as a president, and that he is the best choice to grow the economy, cut spending and create jobs."
Romney is still answering questions about his first television ad, up last week in New Hampshire, which outraged Democrats by quoting then presidential candidate Barack Obama out of context. The advertisement showed Obama campaigning in 2008 saying: "If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose."
Obama was quoting his then-opponent, Sen. John McCain. Romney's campaign has strongly defended the ad, saying "now, the tables have turned - President Obama is doing exactly what candidate Obama criticized."
Romney waited until November to go up with paid television ad buys, which contrasts with the strategy used in his first bid for the White House. Four years ago, Romney went up with his first paid commercials in March of 2007.
- CNN's Kevin Bohn and Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report
- Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PSteinhauserCNN