Obama First Democrat to Launch TV Campaign in Nevada

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Democratic hopeful Barack Obama will be the first presidential candidate to air television ads in Nevada when the commercials begin airing next week, his campaign said Friday.

Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod said the ads will begin airing Tuesday statewide.

"What we've found everywhere else we've gone, is when people get to know Senator Obama ... that we do very, very well. The more information they have, the better we do," Axelrod told reporters on a conference call.

With six weeks to go before Nevada's caucus, Obama has been trailing top rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton by double digits in state polling. Axelrod attributed Clinton's lead to strong name recognition, describing the former first lady as a "quasi-incumbent." He said he believed Nevada voters are just now tuning in.

The first ad to air, dubbed "Take It Back," introduces the Illinois senator as a Washington outsider. It notes his work on ethics reform and his rejection of campaign contributions from "PACs and Washington lobbyists who have too much power today."

Obama and former vice presidential nominee John Edwards both refuse donations from federally registered lobbyists. Obama has accepted federal lobbyists' money in past races and has taken money from lobbyists working at the state level.

The ad previously aired in Iowa and New Hampshire, Axelrod said.

The campaign said it plans to run ads through the holiday season until Nevada's Jan. 19 caucuses. The nominating contest will be the fourth for Democrats, although they have promised not to campaign in the third state, Michigan.

Democrats have been trading attacks on the airwaves in other early states for weeks. But Nevada, which has never held such an early caucus, largely has remained a campaign commercial-free zone.
Campaigns have focused on organizational efforts, arguing most
voters were not yet engaged in the race.

Axelrod said the Obama campaign also plans to air television ads in Spanish in Nevada, but he did not specify when those would begin. Obama ran Spanish-language radio ads in the state in August.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson was the first Democrat to run radio ads in the state, when he aired English and Spanish ads in July.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-12-07-07 1809EST