The Struggle to Keep Up With Bush’s Campaign Spending

The Kerry campaign launched its own ads in response to Bush’s first negative ads. Unfortunately, I worry that Bush’s strategy of vastly outspending the Kerry campaign, and potentially exhausting Kerry’s resources in this phase of the campaign, may eventually be effective.

WASHINGTON, March 12 — Senator John Kerry moved quickly to respond to a new attack advertisement from President Bush on Friday, immediately producing his own commercial striking back.

…Mr. Kerry’s commercial caught strategists from both parties off guard because of the relatively large amount of money, $1.8 million, his campaign was spending to show it in 16 states starting Friday night. [But] the amount pales next to the more than $6 million Mr. Bush is spending this week to show his advertisements on stations in far more markets and on several national cable networks.

Think of it as the Cold War strategy of ad purchases: spend your opponent into the ground and hope that you can outlast them. Given their huge financial advantage, it’s not a bad strategy for the Republicans to try.