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PACs To The Rescue In Michigan

by Will Evans
Oct 13, 2008

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John McCain pulled his staff out of Michigan, but his backers aren't ready to give up. Two conservative political action committees are gearing up to sprinkle the state with anti-Obama and pro-McCain-Palin ads.

"We've stepped in to fill the void of the McCain campaign's forced retreat in Michigan, and we're going to put the state's 17 Electoral Votes back in play with our plan to spend over $500,000 in the Great Lake State," reads a recent fundraising plea by Our Country Deserves Better PAC, which was formed this year to defeat Obama.

Meanwhile, the Republican Majority Campaign recently sent out emails to supporters saying, "MICHIGAN NEEDS YOUR HELP! It is up to the rest of us to keep Mr. Obama from a free win in Michigan!"

Our Country Deserves Better promises to run a slew of different ads in Michigan. One recycles a favorite Republican theme: Obama's connections to notorious people. The ad stars former Weatherman radical Bill Ayers, Rev. Jeremiah Wright and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who is headed to jail. "Sorry, Sen. Obama," the ad says. "But if this is the kind of change you want for America, then you can keep the change."

Another ad features the PAC's chairman, former California state assemblyman Howard Kaloogian, telling voters, "Obama says our children must learn Spanish, so they can communicate with illegal aliens."

Other ads that will run in Michigan include one that ties Obama to what it calls the "failed administration" of Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) and one that says Obama will raise taxes.

And finally, the group produced a soaring tribute to Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin, heralding her as a "fighter for America" who's not "intimidated by the liberal media."

Our Country Deserves Better is also...

...running ads in Nevada and Colorado this week, but Michigan will be the top priority, said PAC coordinator Joe Wierzbicki. Wierzbicki works for the Sacramento-based Republican consulting firm of Sal Russo, who serves as the PAC's chief strategist. (And if you're keeping score of who's who in ad-land, and you think Wierzbicki's name is familiar, that's because he coordinated the Sept. 11 screening of the Clarion Fund's documentary on Islamic militants.)

The Republican Majority Campaign says its anti-Obama ads will be up in Michigan in the coming days. The group has already spent about $1.4 million against Obama, including mail and phone campaigns.

Republican Majority's executive director is Gary Kreep, who also serves as general counsel to the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps.

The group's Web site features a video on Obama's ties to the former militant Ayers. (That's also the subject of an ad by yet another Republican PAC, Freedom's Defense Fund, which also focuses on Michigan.)

But Republican Majority Campaign treasurer Randy Goodwin tells us the ad that will ultimately run in Michigan is "a strictly positive ad for John McCain." That, compared to what we're seeing these days, would be quite a novel tactic.

— Will Evans

Update 10/17/08: Here's the Republican Majority Campaign ad, which starts airing today. It is indeed positive.

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