Liberal and conservative organizations have launched multi-million dollar advertising campaigns to pressure members of Congress to support their positions on the Iraq war. Representatives from both camps present their views.
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The much-anticipated progress report from Army General David Petraeus won't be released for several weeks, but pro- and anti-war groups in the United States are busy framing the debate in their own terms, regardless of what Petraeus' report says.
This week, a group calling itself Freedom's Watch, made up of former White House aides and Republican fundraisers, launched a $15 million, five-week advertising campaign. It targets lawmakers whose support of President Bush's war strategy may be wavering. The ads — on local and cable TV, radio and the Internet — will run in at least 20 states, many featuring wounded war veterans calling for Congress to stay the course in Iraq.
According to media reports, those being pressured include three senators, Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Pete Domenici of New Mexico, and George Voinovich of Ohio.
Many of the elected officials targeted by Freedom's Watch have been singled out for months by anti-war interests, as well. After the president announced his surge strategy back in January, the group Americans Against Escalation in Iraq launched a $12 million ad campaign, running over 50 ads in almost 35 states. This month, they recruited field organizers in 15 states to set up public protests of the war, targeting 40 Republicans in the House and the Senate.
Well, to start, we are joined first by Brad Blakeman. He is president of Freedom's Watch, the newly formed group running ads in support of the war.
Brad Blakeman, thank you very much for joining us.
BRAD BLAKEMAN, Freedom’s Watch: