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Conservative Group Unveils Anti-Kerry Ad Campaign

A conservative anti-tax group unveiled a $1 million advertising campaign Tuesday that paints Democrat John Kerry (search) as a waffler, picking up where President Bush left off last week when his campaign pulled down its ads.

The Club for Growth's (search) launch is much smaller than what Bush had been spending. However, the group's ads will give Republicans somewhat of a presence on the air in certain areas during a week in which Kerry news dominates the airwaves.

Bush's campaign went dark this week, with the campaign opting to save money for an expected multimillion-dollar advertising offensive in August.

The Club for Growth's new 30-second ad is to start running this week in pricey Boston, where Democrats are holding their national convention, before expanding to several Midwestern states.

The ad shows Kerry's head, torso and arm as a spinning weather vane to claim that the Democrat makes decisions depending on which way the wind blows.

"In 1996 he opposed the death penalty for terrorists. Now he claims to support it," the ad says. "Sometimes he's for welfare reform, sometimes he's against it. For a 50-cent gas tax hike, then maybe not. Kerry voted for higher taxes 350 times, but now says he'd cut taxes."

The script largely echoes assertions the Bush campaign has made in its own anti-Kerry ads, including some that have been criticized by independent fact checkers as questionable.

Chad Clanton, a Kerry spokesman, said the ad simply repeats misstatements the Bush campaign has made about Kerry's record.

"Bush and (Vice President Dick) Cheney need to make up their minds about whether they'll ever stop trying to mislead the American people," Clanton said. "Like sands through the hourglass, their time — and their credibility — is running out."