A day after the campaign of Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama said it would begin running a pair of biographical television ads in Iowa, former Democratic Sen. John Edwards has launched his own ad in New Hampshire.
The populist-themed, 30-second ad titled "Strength of America" shows Edwards speaking to cheering crowds of voters and includes a brief shot of his wife, Elizabeth, speaking with a supporter. He does not offer policy solutions, but said it "depends on all of us" to confront issues such as poverty and strengthening the middle class.
"It's time for the president of the United States to ask Americans to be patriotic about something other than war," said Edwards at the ad's conclusion.
Campaign officials said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters that it accelerated the start date for television advertising in the state after it felt it was close to meeting fund-raising goals of $40 million by the time of the Iowa caucuses in January.
The campaign also wanted to further introduce Edwards to voters in the state during the summer season, which is traditionally a slow period for both campaign events and advertising.
In the conference call, deputy campaign manager Jonathan Prince called the advertising a "strong buy," but declined to offer more details. The Associated Press reported the ad buy was $76,000 and would run on broadcast and cable stations in New Hampshire and regional media markets such as Boston.
Prince said that Edwards' third-place standing in New Hampshire polls behind frontrunner Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York and Obama was not the reason for the early ad start. He said it was a "fluid and dynamic race" with a long way to go before the first primary votes will be cast.
This is the campaign's second ad buy of the primary season. In May, Edwards ran a brief flurry of ads in Washington, D.C., and in Iowa urging the Democratic-controlled Congress to confront President Bush again after he vetoed a war appropriations bill with withdrawal timetables for U.S. troops in Iraq.
Edwards is the fourth Democratic candidate to start running television ads. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has gained the most notice for his self-deprecating "resume" ads touting his extensive resume. Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut has run ads touting his family-friendly policies, public service and legislative experience. One of the ads features Dodd's 5-year-old daughter, Grace.
By a wide margin, Republican contender Mitt Romney has made the biggest television ad buys of all the candidates. The former Massachusetts Governor has spent more than $2 million on ads in Iowa and New Hampshire that have run for more than three months — and have helped boost his standings in early primary season polling in both states.