Democrats plan ad blitz

Published July 20, 2004 3:35PM (EDT)

After an early campaign season spent laying relatively low, the Kerry campaign, with a little help from the Democratic National Committee, will come out of its shell after next week's nominating convention with an all-out ad blitz. Following Kerry's first speech in prime time, the Democrats will launch a massive ad campaign with the millions tucked away in its as-of-yet untapped war chest. Kerry also plans a cross-country campaign trip in the beginning of August. All of this will likely add to the punch of the Democratic National Convention as voters get to know the Democratic ticket.

The Associated Press reports: "Though polls show the race essentially tied, an AP-Ipsos survey suggests that voters who can still be persuaded are more likely than committed voters to disapprove of Bush by most measures -- from the economy to the war in Iraq to his handling of foreign policy. Bush's advisers said uncommitted voters are easily swayed by events and thus could swing back to the president before November.

"Democrats said they are in better shape that past years for a wealth of reasons, starting with money.

"McAuliffe said he has $63 million of DNC money set aside and has promised the Kerry campaign he will raise another $100 million. Of that money, McAuliffe must pay for his overhead and roughly $40 million for grass-roots organizing. In addition, he can spend about $18 million in coordination with the Kerry campaign on advertising.

"If he raises $100 million this fall with Kerry's help, McAuliffe would still have tens of millions to spend on independent expenditure ads. Under campaign spending laws, those spots cannot be coordinated with the Kerry team, but they can be negative, a contrast to Kerry's mostly positive ad campaign strategy.

"Kerry's campaign plans to pull its advertising in August, according to campaign aides who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"Separately, the DNC's independent expenditure office plans to air its first ads shortly after the convention, especially if Kerry doesn't advertise in August, according to two Democrats who are not connected with the Kerry campaign. They also spoke on condition of anonymity."

By Stephen W. Stromberg

Stephen W. Stromberg is a former editorial fellow at Salon.

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