Both Political Camps Prepare for Fall Ad Duel

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- The Bush campaign announced it is throttling back its advertising spending against Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry.

Early offensive
In the opening days of March, immediately after Sen. Kerry cruised in the primaries, the Bush campaign began the largest advertising effort ever launched by an incumbent president so early in an election year. That move came as polls showed President George Bush to be trailing the Massachusetts senator.

After spending approximately $100 million on the early TV ad blitz, aimed at 19 pivotal states, the Bush marketing team is pull back.

Planned months ago
Mark McKinnon, head of the campaign's Maverick Media ad team, said, "We are reducing our point levels as we had planned to months ago," he said. "We wanted to be strongest right after Kerry wrapped up the nomination and people were really paying attention. But, as interest naturally wanes, we had planned all along to take our foot off the accelerator."

The Bush campaign has nearly $200 million to spend before the GOP convention at the end of August, but because the convention is five weeks after the Democratic convention, the campaign has to make any ad money it has last longer. It won't get its $74.7 million share of government financing for the fall campaign until after the GOP convention ends Sept. 2.

Federal funds
The Kerry campaign will get its identical government campaign financing far earlier -- when the Democratic convention ends July 29. This means the Kerry campaign will have to stretch the money over 13 weeks while the Bush campaign will spend its federal money over nine weeks.

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