Former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander, who appears to be a longshot for the GOP presidential nomination and is short of money, is taking the unusual step of starting his first advertising this week. Unlike rivals Steve Forbes and Texas Gov. George W. Bush, Mr. Alexander is planning to accept federal matching money, which makes him subject to spending limits in Iowa. Money Mr. Alexander spends now means he will have less to spend on the state's caucuses next year. A single 30-second ad produced by the Alexander campaign without an agency and running in four markets taking aim at Mr. Bush, suggests that raising campaign money shouldn't be the biggest reason to vote, issues should be. "This just in . . . the Iowa caucuses have been canceled. An auction is under way on the White House lawn,'' begins the ad. A spokesman for Mr. Alexander said the decision to advertise early was a result of the attention focusing on a straw poll of Iowa Republicans on Aug. 14. Political observers, however, suggest Mr. Alexander's ability to continue in the GOP nomination could be tied to his showing in the straw poll. Mr. Forbes began advertising a month ago. Mr. Bush has so far run no ads.
Copyright July 1999, Crain Communications Inc.