Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'96 Preview: Clinton TV Ads Already Here

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'96 Preview: Clinton TV Ads Already Here

Article excerpt

THE FUTURE is now.

The presidential election may be 16 1/2 months away, but President Bill Clinton's re-election campaign has targeted Missouri, Illinois and 10 other states to begin advertising early on.

On Tuesday, Clinton campaign ads began airing on four St. Louis stations as part of a $2.4 million ad swing in 27 cities in 12 states. The ad campaign is to continue through July.

The 12 selected states, analysts say, were picked in part because of their importance in the 1996 presidential race.

Missouri and Illinois "are close to indispensible states for the president's re-election,' said Washington media consultant Robert Shrum, who handles many Democrats.

Illinois, say other analysts, is always a must-have for a Democrat. Missouri, a crucial state in 1992, may be even more important in 1996 because Clinton's campaign fears that many southern states may be sure-losers.

Besides St. Louis, sources say, the ads will air in Columbia, Springfield and Hannibal in Missouri. In Illinois, the ads will be broadcast on stations in Chicago, Champaign, Springfield and Quincy.

Sales executives at two stations here - KMOV (Channel 4) and KSDK (Channel 5) - confirmed Wednesday that the campaign has purchased ad time. The broadcasts will average several times a week, they said. They are airing at various times of day.

The ads - three 30-second spots - focus on Clinton's crime package bill approved by Congress last year. The bill earmarked money for 100,000 more police officers, extended the federal death penalty and set up a $9 billion fund to help pay for 100,000 more police officers.

The text of one ad, released by The Associated Press, has Clinton saying: "Deadly assault weapons off our streets. One-hundred-thousand more police on the streets. Expand the death penalty. That's how we'll protect America."

The aim of the message is obvious. Clinton is portraying himself as tough on crime.

Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas - one of at least eight Republicans who want to be Clinton's replacement - fired off a press release Wednesday that attacks the ads as misleading and too obviously political. …

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