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McCain Gets a Little Help from Outside Group

By Matthew Mosk
When the political group Vets for Freedom bought TV ads in Virginia, right after Sen. John McCain's campaign canceled its own ad buy there, Democrats complained that the group must be coordinating its efforts with the McCain camp.

A spokesman for the group called it a coincidence. "In no way has our buy in any way been collaborated with anyone," Vets for Freedom chairman Pete Hegseth told The Politico's Mike Allen, who broke the story yesterday. "All we did was decide where the buys are going, based on our timeline, and our buyers are doing it."

Today, though, there appears to be another, similar coincidence in the way Vets for Freedom's ads are going up, just as McCain's ads are going down. According to a Democratic media firm, Vets for Freedom purchased advertising time in three Michigan television markets, Flint, Grand Rapids and Traverse City, covering July 10 to July 16. At the same time, the McCain campaign decreased its advertising in those three markets for the period from July 8 to July 14.

Coordination between the group and the campaign would be illegal.

The ad, called "Finish the Job," features eight Iraq war veterans discussing the success of the surge, and is part of a $1 million ad buy the group has launched, according to its web site. It includes the line, "Now that's change we can believe in." The phrase is in keeping with one of McCain's themes, "A leader we can believe in," and McCain has used the "change we can believe in" line when attacking Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama, who has made the line a campaign signature.

The placement and phrasing decisions highlight the potential for McCain to benefit this year from spending by outside groups -- a practice he has openly deplored.

By Web Politics Editor  |  July 9, 2008; 1:57 PM ET
Categories:  The Hidden Campaign  
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The Vets for Terrorism are a bunch of swift boater scumbags.

These are the guys doing the torturing for Bush and McCain. Criminals trying to get other criminals in office to cover their behinds.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Vets groups will definitely be in play this year. I'm surprised the McCain eyebrow-raiser of the day isn't on the blogs: when challenged by a vet on his voting record, McCain said:

"...I have a perfect voting record from organizations like the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and all the other veterans service organizations is because of my support of them. [...]"

We definitely need the Fact Checker to look into this one. According to

"Not only has [McCain] refused to support the 21st Century GI Bill, which the Veterans of Foreign Wars endorsed last June, he has consistently voted against increasing funding for the Veterans' Administration, which oversees all medical care for veterans:

# Voted AGAINST an amendment providing $20 billion to the VA's medical facilities. [5/4/06]

# Voted AGAINST providing $430 million to the VA for outpatient care "and treatment for veterans," one of only 13 senators to do so. [4/26/06]

# Voted AGAINST increasing VA funding by $1.5 billion by closing corporate loopholes. [3/14/06]

# Voted AGAINST increasing VA funding by $1.8 billion by ending "abusive tax loopholes." [3/10/04] "

Posted by: JohnD | July 10, 2008 12:31 AM | Report abuse

If it's sleazy and underhanded, you can bet the GOP will give it a shot.

Posted by: JDB | July 9, 2008 11:50 PM | Report abuse


Actually, it's Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama. But we should have known that you wouldn't be intelligent enough to look that up on your own. You are a truly sad and miserable person. Michelle Obama has more poise, grace, and intelligence in one finger than you'll ever have.

And speaking of "good breeding," maybe if your parents weren't related you would have been a fraction of the woman Mrs. Obama is. I can't wait to see her as our First Lady.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 9, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Wm Tate;

You're awfully sensitive today. It is so unmanly.

Posted by: G8tr | July 9, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Dianne 72:

You are right she does remind you of Jackie Kennedy. Any other observations?

Does the migrant farm you work in have internet access?

Posted by: G8tr | July 9, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Vets for freedom is the same swift boat group just under a new name since they paid a $300,000 fine to the Federal Elections Committee for lies thay ran against Sen. Kerry. Look them up, {5 rich old men from Texas who like the Bush tax cuts so they can keep getting for free the tax dollars millions of us working people pay}

Posted by: Buckeye | July 9, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Right. McCain's campaign needs shake ups. What would happen if you were in an instant message conversation with McCain? Hilarity!
Check it out at:

Posted by: Morgan Walker | July 9, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"The placement and phrasing decisions highlight the potential for McCain to benefit this year from spending by outside groups"

You mean like Obama has already benefited to the tune of $9 million+ from the SEIU, which has pledged to spend $85 million to get Obama, and a handful of other Dems, elected this fall?

-Wm Tate,

Posted by: Wm Tate | July 9, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

No wonder he needs the help:

"Aides to Sen. John McCain sought on Wednesday to clear up their boss' position on Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's recent insistence that a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops be included in any security agreement between the two countries.

"John McCain has always been clear that American forces operate in Iraq only with the consent of that country's democratically elected government," Michael Goldfarb, a McCain spokesman, told the Huffington Post. "The Senator speaks frequently with Iraq's leaders and they have made clear that they share his belief that any timeline for withdrawal must be dictated by the facts on the ground. He met with the foreign minister and President separately within the last month...He met with Maliki on his last trip to Iraq sometime in late March."

Goldfarb's remarks represent a more pronounced effort to bring McCain's position on Iraq in line with Maliki's. McCain has forsworn deadlines for troop withdrawal -- insisting that it be tied to conditions on the ground -- and he did not, initially, express support the prime minister's position."

Posted by: 2008 | July 9, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

The ad may be superfluous. The Iraqis may kick us out. Boy would that undo McCain.

If anyone does not think the purpose of this add is to switch the subject of the campaign from the economy to Iraq, they are naive, of course there is coordination. McCain is the same kind of politician as Obama only he works with four cylinders and Obama with eight.

Posted by: RG | July 9, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

My oh my, what a coinkydink! And from Mr. Campaign Finance reform himself?? Slimy campaign attack ads? Here? I'm shocked, shocked??

Posted by: thebob.bob | July 9, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

McCain should pass a note to Freedom vets - get a better media spokesman. Chris Matthews smoked his robotic talking point a$$ on his show last night. Embarassing...

Posted by: 2008 | July 9, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

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