Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

April 16, 2004

by V

Burn rates

This is heartening: MSNBC - Bush's disappearing financial advantage by David Shuster
The Hardball ad watch team estimates that the Bush campaign has already spent nearly half of its pre-convention advertising budget.

With the polls showing the president even or slightly behind John Kerry, it means that the Bush campaign's huge financial advantage has now all but disappeared.

Since early March, the Bush campaign has been advertising at a rate of $9 million a week. But the campaign is now cutting that in half after seeing the president's election message pushed aside by the attention around 9/11, and by the daily attacks on American troops in Iraq.

"The bad news is overwhelming them right now, and I think they've got a predicament," says former Dean campaign manager and MSNBC analyst Joe Trippi.

The predicament gets worse when you look at where the Bush campaign started financially and where things stand today: The president raised a record $180 million, and half of that was budgeted for campaign operations, the other half for pre-convention advertising. But of the advertising budget, $90 million, the Bush campaign has already spent at least $40 million. [$45 million, actually... - V] By comparison, John Kerry has spent about $10 million.

...Making matters worse for the White House, the president's advertising is now ratcheting down at the very time John Kerry's is ratcheting up. Kerry's campaign plans to double its spending on TV ads starting next week.

...For the first time in this campaign, both the president and his challenger will be running TV ads at about the same clip.
I'm pleasantly surprised that Kerry's fundraising is going so well (and Bush spending so profligately). Kerry may actually achieve a kind of parity - which, if I understand my campaign history, should signal an electoral rout. (Except, of course, that surely millions of Republican dollars will be spent on electoral shenanigans...)

The fact that all Bush's ads seem to be having little effect is a heartening signal that people may actually be noticing the difference between the Republican Party's empty mantras and the reality around them.

My current favorite Bush slogan - "Pissing in your ear and telling you it's rain since 1999!"
Posted by V at April 16, 2004 10:13 AM

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