NEW YORK – Viewers treated to a break from the TV ad wars during the Democratic convention last month won't get the same respite when Republicans gather to re-nominate President Bush.
Campaign commercials will fill airwaves from Maine to Florida to Oregon, and some by the Democratic National Committee (search) will run even in pricey New York City, an ultra-expensive media market in a Democratic state that's typically void of presidential political ads.
Liberal interest groups and the Democratic Party will broadcast the most ads, criticizing Bush on everything from the Iraq war to the economy as they try to poke a hole in a week centered on praising the president.
In New York City, the DNC is spending a small amount, about $25,000, to run four 15-second spots needling Bush's May 2003 claim of "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq. Arguing that "Mission Is Not Accomplished," one ad intones, "They say America has turned the corner, but middle-class families are feeling squeezed" on taxes and health care.
The DNC's independent expenditure office also has committed about $8 million to flood TV and radio airwaves in 21 battleground states and nationally on cable networks with an ad arguing that Bush's viewpoints on the economy conflict with reality.
Although it can't legally coordinate with John Kerry's (search) campaign, the party is filling in for the Democratic candidate. He is running only a paltry level of ads in three states and is off the air everywhere else to save money for the fall election homestretch.
At the same time, MoveOn.org's political action committee will broadcast commercials by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris (search), creator of "The Fog of War." The ads feature testimonials from people who voted for Bush in 2000 but who plan to vote for Kerry this year. They will run in nine competitive states and nationally on Fox News Channel, costing about $1 million over the week, part of what the group says will be a $3 million effort.
And, the Democratic-bankrolled Media Fund (search) continues its weeklong, $2.3 million anti-Bush ad campaign in eight states. Other liberal outside groups will be up too, but to a lesser extent.
On the Republican side, Bush will continue running TV ads questioning Kerry's record on intelligence funding and taxes in 19 battleground states and on national cable networks at least through Tuesday.
The conservative anti-tax group, Club for Growth (search), also is on the air with $300,000 worth of ads attacking Kerry on taxes in Minnesota and Arkansas. Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group funded in part by Republicans, will run an anti-Kerry ad on national cable networks starting later in the week, spending at least $500,000.
Meanwhile, the Progress for America Voter Fund, the GOP's answer to the Democrats' Media Fund, is on the air in Iowa and Wisconsin with ads that criticize Kerry's national security credentials. The group is spending about $850,000 over a week, the start of what it says will be a multimillion-dollar ad campaign.
For a week in July during the Democratic convention in Boston, television airwaves across the country were virtually free of political ads in the presidential race.
Bush pulled his ads, recognizing that they were likely to have little effect because of news about Kerry's coming-out party. Kerry was on the air for part of the week, but most Democratic groups went dark because the news media amplified the party's message at no cost.