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Organizations are lining up to throw in their two cents-or half a million dollars-worth on the healthcare debate.

The National Restaurant Association, in an unprecedented ad blitz, committed $500,000 to three days of spot TV to impress on a handful of lawmakers its opposition to pending reform legislation.

The American Association of Retired Persons planned a direct mail barrage to about 1 million households last weekend to explain its endorsement of the Democrat-authored healthcare bills.

And the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was preparing a pro-reform ad salvo, for Alabama, Louisiana and South Carolina.

Those were but a few of the steadily growing number of advertisers to dive into the final days of the national ad debate over healthcare reform that by most estimates could exceed $50 million before the Senate and House vote on the packages.

The restaurant group's ads are now in 12 states and Washington.

"We're targeting pivotal senators whose votes we need-or need to keep-to prevent the Mitchell proposal from winning," said Jeff Prince, director of communications. Gannon McCarthy Mason, Washington, produced the ads.

AARP also relied on print ads from W.B. Doner & Co., Baltimore, in The Washington Post, USA Today and about 25 major market dailies. Its direct mailing was prepared in-house.

The NAACP's radio spots call for universal coverage and shared responsibility by employers. They were produced by McKinney & McDowell and Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter & Associates.

The pro-Clinton Healthcare Reform Project put about $150,000 behind a new spot attacking interest groups for spending millions to fight healthcare reform. The ad was a joint effort from Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter & Associates and Squier, Knapp, Ochs.

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