The Clintonian Campaign Defense

After the GOP attack, Democrats adopt 'positive-negative' ads. But do they have enough cash to push them?

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WASHINGTON: Democrats are back on the attack -– at least as far as their depleted funds will allow. A couple of days after the GOP launched a $10 million campaign of negative commercials packed with oblique references to the Lewinsky affair -– and a mere four days before the midterm elections -– the Democratic National Committee has slapped together a couple of last-minute rebuttals. And in true Clintonian tradition, the ads are "positive-negative" -– that is, attacking opponents while effortlessly appearing to be still talking about the issues. "Republicans -– so intent on attacking the President they’ve forgotten about us," says one. "I’m sick of hearing them debate everything except what will really make a difference in our children’s future," says the other. You get the idea.

Special Report But no matter how politically astute the response, it doesn’t look as if the DNC will be able to put it in very many living rooms. While the Republicans spent $10 million on their ad blitz, Democrats can afford only around $1 million -– and the necessary money hasn’t even come in from donors yet. Very little airtime will be available this close to the vote, and Dems will target specific districts in only three states –- California, Washington and Kentucky. The GOP ads ran in upwards of 20 states. In other words, the cash-strapped DNC will just have to hope that the attack on Clinton’s scandal backfires all by itself.