ABC News' Bush-Cheney campaign reporter Karen Travers, who always hangs out with the cool kids, reports that the place to be at 9:30 am ET today is actually across the Potomac River and straight up Wilson Boulevard to the BC04 campaign headquarters, where the campaign leadership and media team will unveil the first ads of the general election. The BC04 ads in airable form will be made available to the media at 1:00 pm ET today.
Campaign manger Ken Mehlman, chief strategist Matt Dowd, and media guru Mark McKinnon will brief reporters.
The campaign plans to spend over $4.5 million on this first round of ads which will feature at two English-language ads (one 60-second spot and two 30-second spots) and one 30-second Spanish-language ad (that will be the Spanish version of one of the English spots), with the potential for more.
The Bush team has done its usual remarkable job of keeping things that can be kept secret a secret. Some details of the ad buy can't be close hold, because, well, the cable systems and stations talk, but no one has gotten a whiff of what is in the (term of art alert!) creative.
We liked the shot of the little running girl in the first BC04 Web video, and we hope she makes a return cameo in these.
Kerry campaign spokesgal Stephanie Cutter (who made her own triumphal return to The Hill yesterday) gave The Note this exclusive pre-buttal, which, to be clear, was given before she was able to see the ads or even read scripts:
"Here's the bottom line: George Bush can't rewrite history with $150 million. George Bush is going to spend more on this election than any candidate in the nation's history to help whitewash over all his broken promises on jobs, health care, education and national security. The real story here is what's NOT in the new Bush ads, because this president acts as though the last three and a half years never happened."
John Kerry's incredibly impressive Super Tuesday performance not only added an additional nine nomination contest victories to his total (27 of 30 for you counting at home) but also allowed him to pick up the great majority of delegates at stake on this delegate-rich day.
We have been able to allocate 72 percent of the delegates at stake yesterday as of this writing.
As you know, the delegate estimate is just that -- an estimate.
Delegates so far (pledged delegates and superdelegates combined)*: Kerry 1292 (roughly 60% of the total delegates needed to secure the nomination) Edwards 425 Sharpton 23 Kucinich 19
Delegates needed to win the nomination: 2,162
Delegates at stake March 2: 1,151
How Tuesday's delegates have been allocated thus far: (72% of the delegates at stake today have been allocated) Kerry 578 Edwards 226 Dean 9 Kucinich 9 Sharpton 8
A total of 321 delegates have yet to be allocated from California, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Minnesota.
*The totals in the "delegates so far" estimate include both pledged delegates who are allocated according to their home state's primary and caucus results as well as "unpledged" delegates, known as "superdelegates," made up of state party leaders and activists, Democratic governors, members of congress, former presidents, vice-presidents, and national party chairmen.
President Bush is in California today, talking about faith-based and community initiatives in Los Angeles, where he will also attend a fundraiser and address the Republican National Committee Victory 2004 dinner.