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Clinton Lagging in TV Ad Spending

By Matthew Mosk
The American Federation of Teachers reported today it has bought more than $329,000 in radio ads to support Democrat Hillary Clinton's presidential bid, and may have a television ad coming soon to complement the radio buy.

Based on the activity on television stations last week, Clinton will need the union help.

Democrat Barack Obama outspent Clinton 5 to 1 on the Pennsylvania airwaves, spending roughly $2 million to Clinton's $400,000, according to Evan Tracey of the Campaign Media Analysis Group.

Obama was on the air several days ahead of Clinton and has been running more ads than his rival on a daily basis. Obama also put television ads in circulation in North Carolina and Indiana late last week, and Clinton has yet to answer in either state, Tracey said.

The advertising disparity has helped fuel questions about the financial health of the Clinton campaign. Politico reported this morning that the Clinton campaign has left a trail of unpaid debts at caterers and other small vendors, and noted that the campaign carried over unpaid bills related to health insurance premiums for her campaign staff . The campaign carried more than $8 million in debt into March, according to FEC reports.

Clinton campaign officials have said they pay their bills on a timely basis. Speaking on MSNBC today, campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson batted down the debt chatter, but that didn't stop him from plugging the campaign's website. One campaign supporter familiar with March fundraising efforts said that while the campaign will not show numbers as high as in February's $35 million haul, the campaign will still have one of its best months since Clinton first announced more than a year ago.

Tonight is the deadline for contributions that will be recorded in the March reports to the Federal Election Commission. Both Clinton and Obama have tried to prime their Internet donors to give before midnight. Clinton has sent out a series of e-mails to supporters urging them to contribute before the end of the month.

"Together we are going to keep fighting and winning. But first we need to show that we have the resources to compete vigorously in the upcoming races, and I'm depending on you for that support," her latest e-mail says. Clinton's website has added an electronic counter showing her campaign closing in on a $3 million goal, though its unclear what time period that goal has covered. Obama's website is advertising its latest "Dinner with Obama" contest.

By Web Politics Editor  |  March 31, 2008; 5:50 PM ET
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