Both Sides Spend Heavily to Influence Next Week's Hearings

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WASHINGTON ( –- The imminent hearings into the Supreme Court nomination of Samuel Alito have prompted a flood of advertising from the judge's opponents.
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President Bush’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Samuel Alito, is now the subject of competing advertising campaigns.

Until now, Mr. Alito’s opponents have been quieter than his supporters, who have already launched several expensive campaigns backing the Supreme Court nominee. But with the hearings due to take place next week,, a coalition of public-interest groups, and today unveiled ad campaigns that will run on cable news channels and in several states, while women’s groups, including the National Organization of Women, announced plans for outreach via blogs, phone banks and Web sites.

Accusing Alito
One ad from claims Judge Alito didn’t keep his word to disqualify himself from cases in which he could be viewed as having a conflict of interest. The group said its media buy was “significant.”

“Americans believe if you give your word, you ought to keep it,” says the ad from GMMB, Washington, slated to run on cable news channels and in Arkansas and Louisiana. “And that’s what’s disturbing about George Bush’s Supreme Court pick.”

Not so moderate
MoveOn’s spot from Zimmerman & Markman, Santa Monica, Calif., pictures a Hollywood dressing room with an actor putting on makeup as a woman congratulates him for his answer to questions. “Samuel Alito is no moderate. But he plays one on TV” is the tagline. A spokeswoman for MoveOn said the media buy will be $150,000 with the ad running for several days.

Groups supporting Mr. Alito have outspent his opponents. This week the Progress for America Voter Fund launched a nine-day, $500,000 buy that will air on cable news stations and on local cable in Louisiana, North Dakota and Maine.

Opponents just desperate liberals
“Every day desperate liberals make up a steady drip of attacks against Judge Samuel Alito,” says the spot from McCarthy, Marcus Hennings, Washington. The spot quotes a magazine article saying the judge is “widely admired” and urges his confirmation.

Both sides are pushing to drum up public interest in the Supreme Court fight that has been overshadowed even in Washington by other stories, such as the charges against lobbyist Jack Abramoff and the controversy over the government’s tapping of phone calls.

Rallying women’s groups
The National Organization for Women and other groups announced today that they would bringin volunteers from all over the country to help during the nomination fight and that they would use their Web sites to enlist the public in making phone calls and rallying support.

Meanwhile, Progress for America said it would hold local events in cities across the country featuring ex-law clerks of Mr. Alito who support his nomination.

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