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Eric Gay, Pool, Associated Press
Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, speaks during a Republican presidential debate in Sioux City, Iowa, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011.

WASHINGTON — If Newt Gingrich falters in the Republican presidential contest, Ron Paul's scathing television ads may be a big part of the reason.

In 60-second ads in Iowa and New Hampshire, Paul criticizes the former House speaker for "serial hypocrisy." Through the voices of commentators, Paul slams Gingrich for taking money from federal housing giant Freddie Mac and supporting an individual health insurance mandate at the heart of President Obama's health care overhaul.

While other members of the GOP presidential field have been slow to spend money on ads, Paul's been on TV in early voting states since last summer.

The Texas congressman's barrage against Gingrich, along with ads sponsored by the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future, raise questions about whether Gingrich can maintain his remarkable surge.