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TOP OF THE TICKET | DON FREDERICK AND ANDREW MALCOLM

Biden ads are put up for adoption

September 02, 2007|DON FREDERICK AND ANDREW MALCOLM

Underfunded presidential candidates struggling to get their message heard need to think creatively. Democrat Joe Biden's campaign, taking a cue from the Adopt-a-Highway promotion, is offering supporters the chance to Adopt-an-Ad.

A mere $9 will pay for a spot for the candidate on CNN in Council Bluffs, Iowa, an e-mail sent by the campaign to the candidate's supporters advises. Other Iowa ad-adoption options: $100 will foot the bill for one ad during "Meet the Press" in Sioux City, $300 reserves time during the "Late Show With David Letterman" in Des Moines, and $600 buys a commercial on the evening news in Cedar Rapids.

Donors, unlike those who sign up for the highway program, won't get the thrill of seeing their names splashed about, but breaking down the ad costs in such specific terms does personalize the process. The Adopt-an-Ad gimmick is part of a push to raise $200,000, and it looks like the goal will be reached.

Thinking big, we asked Biden aide Eric Carbone the costs of an ad during an "American Idol" broadcast around the state as the Iowa caucuses approach. He hadn't gotten that far ahead of the game, but said, "I'm hoping we can afford that."

TR's words popular today

His voice really wasn't all that impressive, a bit high for the determined, arm-raised image we hold of him now. But, more than a century after he became the nation's youngest president (at age 43) after William McKinley was assassinated in 1901, Theodore Roosevelt's words and ideas live on in American politics.

Hillary Rodham Clinton quoted "the great progressive Teddy Roosevelt" as once saying: "The welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us."

Her closest Democratic competitor, Barack Obama, dusted off the same quote in a June speech to back up his belief that "it's time to get to work once more for our common country."

Answering a question last month in New Hampshire, Joe Biden cited Roosevelt's trust-busting as an example to possibly emulate approaching vast corporate ownership of U.S. media.

John McCain, like Roosevelt a military veteran, lists Theodore Roosevelt on his website as his "ultimate hero."

Speaking in Iowa this month, Mitt Romney talked of efforts to spread democracy abroad through "a campaign of values, combined with our strong arms, speaking softly but carrying a strong stick, as Teddy Roosevelt said, that help us move the world to a safer place."

Romney's chief rival, Rudy Giuliani, spoke of the same man's similar words in New Hampshire while answering a question on foreign policy. "What we're going to have to do," Giuliani said, "is figure out how to be on offense against the Islamic terrorists and reach out to the rest of the Islamic world as friends. It is possible to do that. It is possible to speak softly and carry a big stick -- it was a great Republican, I think, who had that saying."

Actually, it wasn't Roosevelt's own saying. It's a West African proverb he was fond of quoting. The proverb has another line at the end, usually ignored: "You will go far."

Giving money by the news?

We'll bet the first thing that came to your mind when you heard that Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales was resigning was, "I'd better write out a check to the John Edwards campaign."

No?

Well, they're waiting for your contribution right now. Joe Trippi thinks it's a real good idea. He's a senior advisor to Edwards. (Do you suppose anyone ever gets appointed junior advisor to campaigns?)

As soon as word got out that Gonzales was going, going, gone, the former North Carolina senator's campaign fired out a fundraising plea from Trippi.

It's the latest thing, especially if you're running way behind in polls and the money game. Play off the news, ask for dough, even if the connection is as slim as one's chances of election.

"This [resignation] is a victory for all of us," Trippi wrote. "Your calls for change, your energy and your passion helped make this happen." That's the celebration part.

Now comes the warning: "But as pleased as we are to see Gonzales go, the fight is far from over. . . . John Edwards knows America deserves better than crony out, crony in -- and if Bush tries to replace one crony with another, John will lead the fight against their nomination." Now, here comes the pitch: "We need your support in this fight -- just like we needed your support in the fight against Gonzales. Support the campaign that is saying 'no' to crony out, crony in -- make a donation today."

McCain jumps

into GOP race!

After months of testing the waters and halfheartedly fundraising, Arizona Sen. John McCain chose "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" last week to make it official and formally enter the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

Some people thought he had already joined the race last spring. But like many others, McCain has seen how successful Fred Thompson has been in the polls by not running, so McCain decided to try again. "We're doing so poorly," McCain told Leno with a straight face, "that I thought maybe I would announce on this show that I'm running for president."

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Excerpted from The Times' political blog, Top of the Ticket, found at www.latimes.com/ topoftheticket.

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