David Axelrod, a former reporter who heads ARP Media & Messaging, Chicago, and who did North Carolina Sen. John Edwards campaign during the Democratic primary, declined to confirm the party will spend $60 million or more on the effort but said the spending will be especially heavy when the Kerry-Edwards campaign suspends advertising in August.
Aides to Mr. Kerry have indicated that the break in spending next month represents a desire to conserve resources for the fall to avoid giving President Bush a major advantage. After Mr. Kerry accepts the Democratic nomination on Thursday, he qualifies for government funds for the fall campaign, but has to make the money last five weeks longer than President Bush, who will receive his government money after the GOP convention ends Sept. 2.
The DNC is raising funds for the ad campaign under complicated independent expenditure campaign finance rules that allow the DNC to accept $25,000 donations, but prevent it from coordinating the advertising message with the Kerry-Edwards campaign. The people raising the money don't even work in the DNC's headquarters; they work across the street.
Mr. Axelrod said the Kerry campaign's unwillingness to spend money in August is pretty common knowledge.
"It's pretty clear that there is a void and that is working into our thinking," he said.
"Our goal is to have some impact. We can't coordinate but I think everyone who is working on the campaign at large understands the themes that are important to the American people," he said.
Mr. Axelrod said ARP Media & Messaging is working closely with Murphy, Putnam and Shore, in Alexandria, Va., on the Democratic campaign.