On Tuesday, the New York Times' Jim Rutenberg and Michael Luo examined the field of outside groups that are stepping up their efforts to influence the race for the presidency.
"[T]he types of independent groups that so affected the 2004 presidential campaign are flooding back as players in the final sprint to the election this fall," Rutenberg and Luo reported. "Hewing to their reformist themes, the McCain and Obama campaigns initially tried to discourage such activities on their behalf. But as the race has intensified in its closing weeks, the campaigns have increasingly turned a blind eye to the activities of these groups."
Now, it's still true that there is much less outside activity than there was during the 2004 campaign, and it looks like that trend will continue. But the Times' article was well-timed, as it coincided with the release of the anti-Obama attack ad I discussed in an earlier post, and also a new ad put out by liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org.
MoveOn's new spot, "My Friends," employs John McCain's famous habit of using that phrase against him. "You know who he's talking about? The 177 lobbyists who have ties to his campaign," the narrator says. The ad focuses specifically on McCain's connections to lobbyists who've worked on behalf of various oil companies, and argues that because of those ties he won't do anything to reduce gas prices.