Anti-Poverty Group ONE Drops $1.8 Million on Campaign Ads to Highlight Political Muscle

Members of the bipartisan ONE campaign are encouraging people to ask the presidential candidates what they would do about the world's poorest people in $1.8 million worth of television ads to be shown in the weeks before the nation's first presidential contests.

Organizers discussed the details in an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press.

ONE Vote '08 is the group's effort to get President Bush's successor to commit to taking concrete steps to combat hunger and disease while improving access to education and water across the globe.

The organization's 30-second television spot is scheduled to air Friday in Iowa and New Hampshire, and on network cable. It will run for two weeks.

The ad, entitled "Heal," opens with one person who appears to be yelling. She is then joined by dozens of others, each wearing white sweat shirts with numbers on the front.

"One voice can make a difference, but one plus one plus one is impossible to ignore," the narrator says.

"Ask each presidential candidate if they're on the record fighting global poverty and disease," he goes on to say. "One voice, plus yours and millions of others. They will hear."

The spot will run in conjunction with print advertisements and direct mailings. The group is spending roughly $690,000 in Iowa, $625,000 in New Hampshire and $710,000 nationally on the television ad.

The ONE campaign is not endorsing any presidential candidates in the election, but using grass-roots pressure get them to outline their proposals to combat global poverty.

So far, 10 of the presidential candidates have pledged to the group in some way to fight hunger and disease. The group Tuesday posted videos on its Web site of the candidates discussing their plans.

"Whether or not we can turn these hopeful indications into real, solid accomplishment depends in large measure on the degree of bipartisanship and the degree of oneness that we can create over the course of the next 12 months," former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., said Tuesday.

Daschle and another retired senator, former Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., are co-chairmen of ONE Vote '08.

Most of the top candidates of both parties participated by filming a video response or turning in a questionnaire, the organization said. Republicans Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson have not yet done so.

Created in 2004 by rocker Bono and the country's leading anti-poverty groups, the ONE organization counts 2.4 million members. It has attracted celebrity support from actors Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, among others.

Other outside organizations running ads in early states include the Club for Growth, whose $175,000 ad ran in South Carolina, Iowa and nationally on Fox News Channel.