Advocacy Group Questions Bush’s Judgment

NEW YORK MoveOn.Org’s Voter Fund, a political advocacy group that includes financier George Soros, will launch a $2 million TV campaign on Thursday in five swing states with a spot questioning President Bush’s leadership.

The 30-second spot, dubbed “MisLeader,” is part of a continuing series placed by the Voter Fund. It questions the president’s judgment about Iraq and criticizes the $87 billion earmarked for reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan. The ad will appear in Florida, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio and West Virginia.

To date, the Republicans have not put together an organization that serves as a direct response to MoveOn.Org. But Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which raises money for Senate Republicans, sent a letter Nov. 11 to constituents urging them to sign a petition to stop Soros and donate money to the Republicans.

The RNC then responded Nov. 23 with its first spot featuring the president as a strong leader defending the nation against terrorism [Adweek Online, Nov. 21].

Further plans appear to be in the works. The RNC is waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on the McCain-Fiengold campaign spending reform bill, one Republican media consultant said.

“Once the rules are clear, the playing field is going to change,” the source said. “At the moment there is no sense of urgency to create an organization before the rulings are clear.” The source also questioned MoveOn’s strategy of spending money now when the playing field is likely to change and the election still almost a year away.

Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Lieberman’s camp launched a 30-second spot Nov. 25 called “Straight Talkers,” which features various supporters talking about Lieberman’s virtues as a potential leader of the Democratic Party and president.