Newt: the GOP's Daddy Warbucks?

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WASHINGTON: All he had to do was ask. A day after Bob Dole complained on national television that his campaign was running into trouble because Bill Clinton is outspending him on TV advertising, Newt Gingrich pledged a whopping $250,000 of his own funds to the GOP for ads. The typical contribution from Congress members is about $5,000. While not all of the cash can be used for ads directly endorsing Dole, the Republican National Committee is allowed to spend unlimited amounts on generic "issue ads" designed to achieve the same end: support for Dole. Newt's good deed left but a small dent in his own coffers, still bulging with some $1.5 million for his own campaign. On Wednesday, he urged other GOP congressional candidates with fat war chests to cough it up for the Party. TIME Washington correspondent Michael Duffy reports that the money is arriving just in time, since Dole's camp already has spent its legal limit until after next month's convention. "Bill Clinton and the Democratic party are spending $2 million a week to drum up negative opinions of Dole," he said. "The fact that Dole is being outspent is one of the reasons he is behind in the polls. This is not going to level the playing field, with Clinton up by some 20 points, but it's a start." Jenifer Mattos