ABC News has learned that a group of Democratic politicos have set up a new independent 527 organization called the American Leadership Project (ALP) with the express purpose of helping Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, beat Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, in Ohio, and possibly Texas and Pennsylvania as well.
Free from campaign finance rules, ALP will not be legally permitted to coordinate with the Clinton campaign, but it is clearly intended to help her.
The group is targeting through TV ads, mail, and phone communications white women under 50 in the Ohio area -- specifically Cleveland, Columbus, Youngstown, Charleston (WV), Wheeling- Steubenville, Zanesville, and Parkersburg (WV).
White men will also be a focus, and if there are any excess funds Latinos in Texas and middle class families in Pennsylvania will also be targeted.
ALP has developed three ads aimed at pushing the idea that Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, is a talker and not a doer -- the ads are called “If speeches could solve problems" -- and they will contrast Obama and Clinton on issues of importance to middle class voters, such as the economy, health care, and the mortgage crisis.
"Our purpose is to encourage audiences to look beyond the campaign speeches and political rhetoric to specific proposals to address these core issues," says an ALP mission statement obtained by ABC News.
The plan right now is for the TV ads to never actually mention Obama -- rather, the statements about rhetoric vs. reality will go after him through implication, the contrast between Clinton and Obama already being so well-known.
Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic this morning first reported that a pro-Clinton 527 had been set up. Per Ambinder, the group is "canvassing Clinton donors for pledges of up to $100,000 in the hope of raising at least $10M by the end of next week...A Democrat who was briefed on the project said that Pennsylvania attorney William A. K. Titelman is leading the effort to solicit money. Titleman, who raised money for Gov. Bill Richardson's presidential campaign, has not contributed money to Clinton. He did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment…A Clinton spokesman said he knew nothing about the 527."
ALP is being run by the following people:
Jason Kinney, of California Strategies, LLC, a former senior communications advisor and chief speechwriter to former California Governor Gray Davis;
Mattis Goldman of SeaChange Media, a former ad maker for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, who works for . (Samples of Goldman's ads can be seen HERE).
Erick Mullen, a political consultant with lots of Capitol Hill experience who has worked for the presidential campaigns of Gen. Wesley Clark (Ret.) in 2004 and former Sen. Bill Bradley, D-NJ, in 2000, as well as the successful 1998 Senate run of Chuck Schumer. (Mullen's website is HERE).
Paul Rivera, founder of Britton Marcy, LLC, senior political adviser for the 2004 Kerry-Edwards campaign, and a Clinton- Gore White House advance staffer from 1994 through 1999.
Roger Salazar of Acosta|Salazar LLC, who worked in the Clinton White House from 1994-1999 as assistant press secretary, national spokesman for then-Sen. John Edwards' 2004 presidential race, national spokesman and deputy press secretary the 2000 presidential campaign of Al Gore, and press secretary for Gov. Davis' successful re-election.
The law firm representing the group is Remcho, Johansen & Purcell, LLC. Accounting and bookkeeping is being handled by Nancy Warren of the San Francisco-based Warren & Associates LLC.
NOTE: Some minor tweaks in diction to this post were made for accuracy about the actual ads. And the sentence about the ads not mentioning Obama by name was added.