Political ads hit swing state airwaves

May 2, 2012 at 10:10 AM
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WASHINGTON, May 2 (UPI) -- Swing states voters are being hit by ads targeting the two main U.S. presidential candidates, in what observers say will be a long battle of the airwaves.

President Obama's campaign took a double-barrel swipe at presumptive Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the latest ad salvo, attacking Romney for his now-closed Swiss bank account and the outside group, Americans for Prosperity, that sponsored an ad the Obama camp said was erroneous.

Americans for Prosperity is one of several conservative independent groups underwriting television commercials in presidential battleground states, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday. The groups' ad buys provide breathing room for the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee to raise money as they put together field operations.

"We're going to spend tens of millions in this period, when the campaign and the party committees aren't fully ready to take over," said Tim Phillips, Americans for Prosperity president.

Phillips said the organization didn't coordinate with the Romney campaign or the Republican Party.

Americans for Prosperity said it plans to spend $151 million for television and field operations during this campaign, and expect to spend 80 percent of its TV budget before Labor Day, the Times said.

Democratic-aligned independent groups also are beginning to come to Obama's defense, the Times said. The pro-Obama Super PAC, Priorities USA Action, run by two ex-White House staffers, made a recent a $1 million buy in Nevada and Colorado.

Many of the groups targeting Obama are tax-exempt advocacy organizations that don't have to reveal their donors and run issue ads that don't explicitly call for a candidate's defeat or election. The Times said independent fact-checkers found many ads were either misleading or flat-out false.

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