RNC Rides to the Aid of McCain

Forms Independent Unit; $3 Million Ad Buy Targets Obama

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- The Republican National Committee is sending a shot across the bow of the Obama campaign, signaling that the Democratic presidential contender's towering fund-raising advantage over Sen. John McCain won't be a guarantee of victory.

A $3 million buy will compare Sen. Barack Obama's stance on energy security with Mr. McCain's. It will also likely bring up the high price of gas. The energy message will initially run on TV stations in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin through mid-July. Creative was not immediately being released.

The ad comes from a newly created independent-expenditure committee of the Republican National Committee that will air messages bolstering McCain.

The McCain camp will get $85 million in federal financing, and typically the party would only be able to spend $19 million on any effort it coordinates with the McCain campaign. By not coordinating messages with either the McCain campaign or the Republican National Committee itself, the GOP independent-expenditure unit can raise and spend money that will come in handy to a McCain camp hemmed in by federal financing rules. The independent-expenditure committee's formation was first reported by politico.com.

The independent-expenditure committee is being headed by Brad Todd of OnMessage, an Alexandria, Va.-based ad agency that was involved in the Mitt Romney campaign. In a statement, Mr. Todd said the unit was a reaction to Mr. Obama's "decision to become the only major party presidential candidate in history to not adhere to campaign spending caps."
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