From: John King/CNN
Subject: White House defends legality of issue ads funding; says GOP uses same method
The White House on Tuesday aggressively defended the Democratic National Committee's spending on issue ads that benefited President Bill Clinton last year, taking issue with Republicans and other critics who question the legality of the ads.
White House special counsel Lanny Davis said the details of the ad spending "were being inaccurately reported" by news organizations he said were failing to note the ads were paid for with a mix of "hard" and "soft" money.
And as Republicans criticize Clinton, the White House notes the GOP is using much the same tactic: The Republican National Committee this week bought nearly $800,000 in ad time for an "issue ad" criticizing the Democratic candidate in a special congressional election in New York.
Also, the White House pointed to similar ads paid for by the RNC during the Dole presidential campaign. In June 1996, for example, Dole talked publicly of how the RNC was paying for ads to support him at a time his campaign was out of money because of the grueling primaries.
"It doesn't say, 'Bob Dole for president,'" Dole said in June 1996. "It has my -- it talks about the Bob Dole story. It also talks about issues. It never mentions the word that I'm -- it never says that I'm running for president, though I hope that it's fairly obvious since I'm the only one in the picture."
Much like the pro-Clinton DNC ads, the Dole ads were written and produced by Dole's campaign media team; Republicans have suggested Clinton's involvement in the DNC ads constitutes an illegal coordination of party and campaign spending.
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