McCain Considers First Television Ad

Sen. John McCain, struggling to raise money near the end of the fundraising quarter, may double down. His campaign is thinking about spending between $350K and $500K on its first television ad buy next week, although a final decision has not been made.

The ad would air in New Hampshire and would focus on McCain’s life story.

The hope is that McCain's presence on the tube will energize a grassroots fundraising push. McCain will spend the next ten days raising money in six states and has a major event in New York City next week. McCain has attended more than two dozen fundraisers in September alone.

Campaign aides dispute a report in today's Washington Times that McCain could finish the quarter having raised less than $4M. Aides insist that the campaign has enough money to fund its state campaigns in New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina, and point to national polls showing an uptick in McCain's standing.

McCain’s spokesperson, Jill Hazelbaker, would not release the campaign’s fundraising estimates.

In August, after surviving a brutal staff shake-up and horrendous press, McCain emerged from hibernation to promote his new book, and in September, he garnered positive press and a bounce in the polls off of his No Surrender tour, which piggybacked on the Petreaus report to Congress.

Campaign aides would not discuss strategy, but the campaign would surely be tempted, after a $4M quarter, to accept federal matching funds. The problem: McCain may have spent more than state spending limits would permit if he opted into the federal financing system.

This Hobson's choice puts pressure on McCain to demonstrate real progress in state or national polls in October.