I'm John Edwards, and I Did Not Approve This Message: Today a major environmental group, Friends of the Earth, starts airing a new radio ad in New Hampshire praising John Edwards' stance on global warming. (The group formally endorsed him last week.) Edwards, according to the ad, is "alone among the candidates" in asking Americans to sacrifice and conserve energy. Listen here.
It's not the first independently financed spot to run in this campaign—the Log Cabin Republicans already aired a Romney attack ad in Iowa—but it is one of the first to straightforwardly endorse a candidate. FoE figured that New Hampshire, which is seeing its ski seasons shortening and its maple syrup seasons thrown off-kilter, would be a good place to deliver his message of reducing emissions and opposing nuclear power.
For Edwards especially, independent ads could make a big difference. His decision last month to take public matching funds mean that he's subject to spending limits. In New Hampshire, he can't spend more than about $800,000 on campaign expenses such as advertising and phone banking. Independently financed ads, meanwhile, have no spending limits, as long as they're not funded by corporations or unions. (They're also not allowed to coordinate with the campaign.) FoE says this ad won't be its last.
Not that Edwards is relying on outside advertising. Eric Shultz, a spokesman for the Edwards campaign, emphasized that the campaign has all the money it needs to execute its strategy. But with Hillary and Obama surging ahead in fund raising, Edwards will have to spend efficiently to compete in the early states' ad markets. And with his New Hampshire numbers lagging behind his two top rivals', a little help from his friends won't hurt.
Oct. 24, 2007
Levin vs. Gardner: Michigan Sen. Carl Levin refuses to play nice. Acting as if he has a vendetta against the entire Granite State, Levin has once again reached out across the news wires and slapped New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner across the face. In a meeting with reporters this morning, Levin criticized New Hampshire's "cockamamie" election status and said he wants Michigan Democrats to hold a caucus on the same day as New Hampshire's primary.
This is all fallout from Michigan's effort to upend the primary process by leapfrogging New Hampshire. Michigan's move to Jan. 15 forced Gardner to delay the disclosure of New Hampshire's date so no other state would try to usurp its first-in-the-nation status. Michigan, meanwhile, saw all but three Democrats pull out of its primary because the state wasn't one of the four sanctioned early primary states. Levin seems to consider himself and his state martyrs, crucified for their principled stand against the villainous Yankees in Manchester. The Detroit News quoted him as saying, "New Hampshire has a hammerlock on the process. … We decided we were going to try to change that. We knew we would pay a price for that." How valiant!
Gardner, meanwhile, is playing Batman to Levin's Penguin. Gardner's stoic, above-the-fray demeanor makes Levin appear all the more a blowhard. By the way, the final decision is up to Michigan's governor—not Michigan's senator.