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.
Web Politics Editor
July 9, 2008; 1:57 PM ET
Categories: The Hidden Campaign
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