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McCain, too, will run Olympics ads

Aug. 06, 2008, 9:07 a.m. (ET)

WASHINGTON(AP) John McCain won't cede the pricey Olympics airwaves to Barack Obama.

The Republican presidential candidate plans to run $6 million worth of TV commercials on NBC broadcast and cable channels during the Summer Games in Beijing. McCain committed the money just a few days before Friday's opening ceremonies and a few weeks after his Democratic rival's campaign signaled its intention to spend some $5 million on ads.

Republican and Democratic officials with knowledge of the purchases confirmed the advertising plans that were first reported by the Web site of Advertising Age, a magazine that covers the industry.

Such extensive purchases of air time give both candidates wide exposure before the Democratic National Convention, to be held the last week in August, and the Republican National Convention, to be held the first week in September.

Typically, presidential candidates spend little on advertising during the August summertime lull when attention is focused not on politics but on the Olympics. By running ads on NBC, both candidates are sure to hit a high number of viewers. At the same time, both candidates seem to have plenty of money to spend.

A prolific fundraiser, Obama has chosen not to accept public financing for the general election, and the spending constraints that come with it. McCain will accept the taxpayer money and limits, meaning he must spend his primary money now before the start of his convention.