Wives are the stars of new Republican campaign ads ahead of the holidays

Just days before Christmas, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry are looking to close out a stretch of negative campaigning by going positive in television ads featuring what some of the contenders believe could be their secret weapon with voters: their wives.

Callista Gingrich, Ann Romney and Anita Perry all play prominent roles in new TV spots unveiled Wednesday aimed at unveiling the softer side of their husbands ahead of the holidays and less than two weeks before the Iowa caucuses.

In an ad called "Character," Ann Romney offers a subtle defense of charges that her husband has changed positions in issues. But the spot, which features old photos of the Romneys and their young kids, could also be interpreted as a slam on Gingrich's failed marriages.

"If you really want to know how a person will operate, look at how they've lived their life," Ann Romney says in the ad. "And I think that's why it is so important to understand the character of a person. To me that makes a huge difference. Maybe some voters it doesn't, but for me it makes a huge difference."

You can watch the spot after the jump, courtesy the Romney campaign.

In a spot called "American Story," Anita Perry talks about her husband's humble beginnings in Texas and says he will bring "Christian values" to Washington—a message clearly aimed at social conservatives in Iowa.

"We grew up in small towns, raised with Christian values--values we still believe in," she says. "And we know Washington, D.C., could use some of that."

But viewers could be distracted by the entrance of the Texas governor, who literally leaps into camera shot behind his wife in the final frames of the ad.

Callista Gingrich joins her husband in a campaign spot celebrating the Christmas holidays. The ad is less about issues and more of a virtual greeting card. But it is also a subtle way of reminding voters that Gingrich, whose two previous marriages ended in part because of his infidelity, is now married with a more settled personal life.

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