Clinton campaigns for free ads

WASHINGTON — President Clinton on Wednesday repeated his call for a campaign reform package that includes free or deeply discounted broadcast advertising rates for politicians.

“We have to get free airtime or reduced airtime,” Clinton said during a White House press conference. He said the free or discounted airtime was necessary because TV time is the leading factor in the rising costs of political campaigns. “It’s the cost of communications that is driving this up,” Clinton said.

Clinton already has asked the Federal Communications Commission to examine possible campaign finance reforms, such as forcing broadcasters to set aside a portion of their airtime for political statements. In addition, the White House is putting the final touches on a blue ribbon panel that will make recommendations for broadcasters’ public interest obligations in the digital age. High among those obligations is expected to be a requirement to hand over free or discounted airtime to politicians.

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