MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Donald Trump is out with his first television ad of the 2016 presidential campaign, which will start airing Tuesday in Iowa.

Trump will spend $2 million a week on a television ad in Iowa and New Hampshire that shows dark images of immigrants and terrorists, and focuses on his plan to ban Muslims from the country.

“The politicians can pretend it’s something else, but Donald Trump calls it radical Islamic terrorism,” the ad says. “That’s why he’s calling for a temporary shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until we can figure out what’s going on. He’ll quickly cut the head off ISIS and take their oil. And he’ll stop illegal immigration by building a wall on our Southern border that Mexico will pay for.”

But what makes this ad different is not how much he’s spending, but how little.

“Donald Trump is playing the media like a fiddle,” said professor Larry Jacobs, a political scientist at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs in Minneapolis.

For the first time in modern presidential campaigns, the candidate who is spending the least money is winning the most support, Jacobs says.

“He has figured out a way, long ago, to make inflammatory statements, get the press to cover it, then sit back and let the press do the work for him– without paying a cent,” he said.

A recent NBC News study reports that Jeb Bush and his Super Pac supporters spent $38 million on campaign ads in 2015.

Meanwhile, Marco Rubio and his supporters spent $17.8 million. Hillary Clinton and her supporters: $12.2 million.

Donald Trump? Only $217,000.

Trump leads the Republican pack by a wide margin in national polls, but in caucus states like Iowa and Minnesota, he trails to more traditional candidates who have built a get-out-the-vote ground game.

“Donald Trump has done very well in converting his inflammatory statements into mammoth amounts of free press coverage,” Jacobs said, “but it’s still not clear yet whether he can cash that in and win in Iowa and New Hampshire.”

Meanwhile, Politifact reports the new ad’s images of large numbers of immigrants swarming across the U.S. border from Mexico are not what they seem.

The fact-checking site says the video is actually 2014 video of Moroccans crossing into Spain.

The Trump campaign is unapologetic. It says that’s what the U.S.-Mexican border will look like if we don’t build a wall.

Pat Kessler

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