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Dean Launches $1-Million TV Ad Blitz

August 27, 2003|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Democrat Howard Dean on Tuesday launched a $1-million television ad campaign in six early voting states, promising to take his surging presidential bid nationwide while rivals focus on New Hampshire and Iowa.

"We intend to beat George Bush, but in order to do it we have to campaign in all 50 states," Dean said in a phone interview. "This is the rollout."

In a show of political strength, the former Vermont governor will begin airing a new ad Friday in selected markets in Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Washington state and Wisconsin.

Dean has shaken up the primary campaign this summer, collecting the most money in the fund-raising period that ended June 30 and displaying his grass-roots appeal with a four-day August campaign swing that drew thousands.

Polls show him leading in Iowa and New Hampshire, site of the first two presidential contests in 2004.

Even rival campaigns concede that Dean is wise to exploit his momentum, although they question whether the ads will have any long-term effect.

"This is primarily a fund-raising strategy. I think what he's trying to do -- and I give him credit for it, because it's working -- is build up the excitement and get more people signed on to his Web site," said Steve Elmendorf, an advisor to Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri. "But I find it hard to believe that an ad seen by a voter in Wisconsin is going to have an impact when he votes in February."

The ad criticizes President Bush's policies on taxes and Iraq, as well as Democrats who backed the war: "I opposed the war with Iraq when too many Democrats supported it, because I want a foreign policy consistent with American values," Dean says.

His rivals have argued that Dean's anti-war position would make him a weak candidate against Bush.

"The Dean campaign's sole strategy is momentum and buzz," said Jim Jordan, campaign manager for Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts.

Dean expects to raise $10.3 million in the quarter ending Sept. 30, said campaign manager Joe Trippi. That is the amount former President Clinton raised in the same period in 1995, the best performance by any Democratic presidential candidate in a single quarter the year before an election.

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