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AARP Blitz Backs Republican Plan

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DALLAS The AARP said it is launching an ad campaign on Wednesday explaining the group's endorsement of the $400 billion prescription drug bill supported by President Bush and congressional Republicans. Media spending on the effort will be $7-10 million, sources said.

A single 30-second TV ad will run on national cable and in 200 spot markets Wednesday through Friday. It will also garner heavy play during the weekend in Washington, D.C., according to Omnicom Group's GSD&M in Austin, Texas, which handles advertising for the organization. A print ad is also part of the effort.

In the spot, a handful of people over 50 who are of different ethnicities take turns explaining the reasons behind AARP's endorsement. They say, "For years AARP has worked with Congress to add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. And finally a bill is about to be voted on. While it's not perfect, we know there are millions of Americans who can't afford to wait for perfect. They need action now. This is a good opportunity that will be gone if not approved this year. That's why AARP supports this bill as a good first step. And we promise to keep fighting to make your prescription drugs more affordable. Tell Congress to keep their promise." The spot ends with a super of the AARP logo.

The Washington, D.C.-based organization endorsed the bill, called the Bipartisan Medicare/Prescription Drug Conference Report, yesterday. "Though far from perfect, the bill represents an historic breakthrough and important milestone in the nation's commitment to strengthen and expand health security for its citizens at a time when it is sorely needed," the organization said in a statement.