HolyCoast: GOP Trying Not to be Ignored Next Week
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Thursday, August 21, 2008

GOP Trying Not to be Ignored Next Week

The GOP is not willing to give next week to the Democrats while they hold their convention/riot in Denver. The Republicans have set-up a counterprogramming operation they hope will not be completely ignored by the media and the voters:
John McCain and the Republican Party have their own plans for next week in Denver, including a parade of high-profile surrogates, a Web site touting new attack videos, and a tagline for the Democrats' convention: A Mile High and an Inch Deep.

Two dozen staffers of the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee will head west this weekend to combat the media coverage the nomination of Barack Obama will draw. The slogan for their opponents: Not Ready '08.

The effort expands on the recent tactic of slamming Sen. Obama at every opportunity, a strategy that appears to be working. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows Sen. McCain has made up ground, trailing by three points.

Unlike the 2004 Democratic convention, when the GOP did little more than arrange a few interviews, this year's activities are an attempt to distract attention from the main attraction.

"This is an effort to get beyond the glitz and celebrity of Barack Obama's convention and talk about the reality of his record," said Matt McDonald, the McCain campaign's senior adviser in charge of the Denver efforts.

Former McCain opponents Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, along with Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and a host of others, will be in Denver working with the staff in a two-story office within walking distance of the convention site.

From the headquarters, complete with catering and a security detail, the surrogates will hold news conferences, make television appearances and give satellite interviews with outlets in battleground states.

The campaign also has convention-specific television ads that will run throughout the week. The hits will also come from a Web site that compiles TV clips of Democratic leaders praising Sen. McCain and questioning Sen. Obama's experience -- including Bill and Hillary Clinton and Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut.

It's going to be awfully hard tearing political reporters away from the glow at the Pepsi Center, and frankly, I don't expect that the GOP will get much attention at all. If anyone shows up at their events it's likely to be some third-string intern who is only there to make it appear that their network or newspaper is covering both sides of the story.

My advice to the GOP team: If a riot breaks out, get out of town. We want that story to be all about Democrats and not about the GOP response.

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