Lamar Fights Back 

Lamar Alexander is scraping together enough money to buy time for a television ad in Iowa, hoping to develop momentum for that state’s upcoming presidential straw poll.

Texas Gov. George W. Bush’s campaign has virtually shut down the fund raising of other Republican contenders, including Alexander. But Alexander’s ad, which begins airing this week, aims to turn the money issue against Bush.

“The presidency ought to be about raising children, and farm prices, and standards—not just raising money,” Alexander says.

The ad attempts to vilify Bush for “buying” the election, starting with a parody of a newscaster announcing that the Iowa caucuses have been canceled and that the Republican nomination will instead be sold at auction on the White House lawn. In the next scene, bidders are portrayed waving cash, smoking cigars, and tipping cowboy hats as they vie to buy the nomination.

Still a blip in the polls in Iowa and drawing anemic crowds at his campaign stops, Alexander needs to finish a strong third in the Aug. 14 straw poll to continue his second quest for the White House.

“Big money is a big issue,” says Brian Kennedy, Alexander’s political director. “There is a risk the Republican nomination will not be decided on the issues; rather it will be nothing more than a fund-raising contest.”

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