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Dems Launch Ads Aimed at Black Voters

A group of Democratic insiders that has spent some $40 million on advertising against President Bush is rolling out new campaign commercials telling urban blacks "don't keep getting played" and accusing Bush of turning his back on them.

"Bush has a plan for America. But you're not part of it," says one television ad being released Monday. Another claims: "Bush said prosperity was right around the corner, but he wasn't talking about the corners in your neighborhood."

The Media Fund plans to spend a relatively large amount for minority media — about $5 million between now and Nov. 2 — on television, radio and print ads, mostly in presidential battlegrounds of Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Steve Schmidt, a Bush campaign spokesman, called the ads "divisive and baseless," and said they are "produced from a position of weakness."

Democrats have claimed that Republicans are working to suppress the black vote to help Bush win, particularly through radio and print ads by a Washington-based group called People of Color United (search). Its ads, funded largely by Republicans, criticized Democrat John Kerry as a "wishy-washy, rich, white politician" and his African-born wife Teresa Heinz Kerry as "elitist, rich and white."

Blacks historically have been loyal Democratic voters, and Kerry needs to ensure they turn out on Election Day if he is to defeat Bush.

On Saturday, Kerry suggested that Republicans may try to keep black voters from casting their ballots to help Bush win in November. Speaking to the Congressional Black Caucus (search), he said: "We are not going to stand by and allow acts of voter suppression, and we're hearing those things again in this election."

Making the same argument, a new Media Fund (search) radio ad claims: "The Republicans want you to sit out this election and simply stay home. Who are they fooling?"

Founded by former Clinton administration aide Harold Ickes and funded in part by billionaire philanthropist George Soros (search), the Media Fund is making its first major pitch to minorities. The Democratic National Committee also is courting black voters through ads and over the summer Kerry did some advertising targeted to blacks.

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