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Iowans are seeing an unprecedented number of political ads on TV. Very few commercial breaks go by without at least one 30-second spot from the candidates, and the flurry of blurbs will only get worse as caucus day approaches.

In Iowa asked many different people which ads were standing out — and most were hard pressed to name even one. But on the good side, they were generally appreciative that the candidates commercial spots this holiday season are largely free of negative campaigning.

Patrick Healy of the New York Times writes that candidates are spending three times as much money on the airwaves and over the Internet compared to 2004. (President Bush, however, faced little opposition in the GOP caucus).

Here are the stats: “The Democrats are spending by far the most on television advertising here, and smashing records in the process. Senator Barack Obama
of Illinois has spent the most, at $8.3 million, Mrs. Clinton has spent
$6.5 million, and Mr. Edwards, of North Carolina, has spent $2.7
million, according to an analysis by CMAG, a firm that tracks political
advertising spending. Over the last week, Democratic candidates
combined have spent at least $565,000 on television advertising, for a
total of $23.7 million this year. In the 2004 race, Democratic
candidates set a record by spending a combined $9.1 million for the
entire campaign in Iowa.

“And the number of advertisements has
increased accordingly: they have run 44,600 times in Iowa this cycle,
compared with a total of 28,054 four years ago.”

Clinton has bought ad time on every 6 p.m. newscast on  Jan. 2, the night before the caucus, so she can run a two-minute spot.  But ABC News reports that Obama has tried to counter by buying two- to five- minutes of time in the same period, so he could address voters live, but local stations are having trouble coming up with the inventory.

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