Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Smell the limburger

WisPolitics is reporting the Republican National Committee is not running any television ads next week in Wisconsin. The Associated Press is reporting the television ads are off the air in Maine, too.

The party's independent ad operation is doubling its budget to about $10 million and focusing on crucial states such as Colorado, Missouri, Indiana and Virginia where Democrat Barack Obama has established a foothold, according a Republican strategist familiar with presidential ad placements.

Florida and North Carolina have also been in the RNC ad mix, but Pennsylvania is the only Democratic leaning swing state apparently left in the party's ad campaign.

The shift in advertising resources suggests that the RNC has decided to focus on defending reliably Republican-voting states against Obama's onslaught of advertising. Flush with money, Obama is outspending the joint efforts of the Republican Party and the McCain campaign by more than 2-1.

If there's a silver lining to this, McCain is getting beat up by the campaign finance system he believed in.

It's not a total retreat from Wisconsin:

While a pullout from Wisconsin is a significant strategic move, it does not represent a full GOP retreat from the state. McCain's campaign has notified Wisconsin stations that it planned to continue to buy air time through Oct. 26.

Like McCain, the RNC's independent ad operation has targeted Obama with critical ads.

The Republican Party has been helping McCain through various means. It had been spending more than $5 million a week on ads independently of the campaign. It also has teamed up with the campaign to run combined ads whose costs are split by the campaign and the RNC in certain situations allowed by federal election law.

Only the independent ads will be affected by Wednesday's decision to shift ads.

The battle is now mostly on Republican turf:

Obama tested but abandoned advertising efforts in Alaska, Georgia and North Dakota. But he has made inroads in the traditional Republican strongholds Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia. The two campaigns also are fighting for supremacy in Colorado, Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico — all of which Bush won in 2004. They are also battling in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, states that John Kerry won.