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Attack ads ineffective, strategists say

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- The overriding U.S. financial crisis has rendered Republican candidate John McCain's ads attacking his democratic rival ineffective, election observers say.

Democratic strategist Joe Trippi told The Washington Post he doesn't think the ads "matter hardly at all" and don't seem to be hurting Democrat Barack Obama.

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"Most people are looking at the financial crisis, looking at their 401(k)s, and in between they're seeing the two candidates beat the living daylights out of each other and rolling their eyes," he said.

Alex Castellanos, a Republican strategist, said Obama's image is hard to damage because voters have come to know him during the campaign.

"They've seen him for a year and a half in debates," Castellanos told the Post. "They've been barraged with television. To come up now and say, 'Don't believe your lying eyes -- this candidate is not who you think he is,' is a very tough challenge."

The candidates are opening their wallets to hit the airwaves hard in the last weeks before the election. The two spent a combined $28 million on television ads during the week ending Oct. 4, with Obama outspending McCain 2-to-1 because the Democrat didn't accept public campaign financing, the Post said.

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For the two-week period that ended Friday, Obama's ads aired 66,169 times and McCain's 32,027, said Evan Tracey of the Campaign Media Analysis Group.

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