Riding a tidal wave of media interest, the Bush for President campaign apparently has decided to hold off for now on advertising.
"The most credible, cost-effective publicity is free media, and right now we have the spotlight and are campaigning hard to take advantage of the media interest," said Mark McKinnon, director of Maverick Media, the media arm of the Bush campaign.
Mr. McKinnon declined to disclose when advertising would begin, but said there is some recognition of the campaign without it.
THE RISK OF ADS
"The risk is you can pay a bunch of money and people aren't paying attention," he said.
Federal campaign finance laws require presidential candidates who accept matching money to limit their campaign spending to established amounts based on voting population. In the past, the limit has meant candidates who wanted to woo voters in advance of Iowa's caucuses or New Hampshire's primary had to limit early advertising in order to have enough left to advertise later and still remain under the spending cap.
Four years ago, Republican Steve Forbes' decision to decline matching funds and start advertising in Iowa in September caused major spending-cap problems for Bob Dole, who had to answer Mr. Forbes' charges.
Mr. Forbes, running again this year and once again declining federal matching funds, started advertising last month but hasn't directly challenged Gov. Bush in the ads.
The Bush campaign's Maverick Media includes a group of veteran campaign consultants. Mr. McKinnon, an Austin, Texas, ad executive at Public Strategies, headed Maverick Media when it was formed for Mr. Bush's gubernatorial campaign.
ALSO ON THE BUSH TEAM
Other executives enlisted include Lionel Sosa, Kathy Sosa and Luis Garcia, all of Garcia LKS, San Antonio, and Matthew Dowd, one of the founders of Public Strategies.
Nationally, the campaign tapped Stuart Stevens and Russ Schriefer of Stevens &