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'Priceless' parody ad singes Kerry on lifestyle

WASHINGTON -- A conservative group headed by one of Bill Clinton's harshest critics is airing an ad that pokes fun at presumptive Democratic nominee John F. Kerry's haircut, designer clothing, and property holdings.

Citizens United, headed by former Republican congressional aide David Bossie, began airing the ad -- a parody of MasterCard's "priceless" commercials -- on cable and broadcast channels Sunday in select presidential battleground states.

The ad shows Kerry, boats at a marina, and oceanfront property as an announcer says: "Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. Hairstyle by Christophe's: $75. Designer shirts: $250. Forty-two-foot luxury yacht: $1 million. Four lavish mansions and beachfront estate: Over $30 million."

Another shot is of Kerry and Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, with the words: "Another rich, liberal elitist from Massachusetts who claims he's a man of the people. Priceless."

It's the start of what the group says will be a months-long advertising effort leading to November that's designed to counter ads critical of President Bush. "The vitriol that's being used by the left in their hatred of the president -- and the man himself -- seems to come through in their ads," Bossie said. "We wanted to counter that."

In 2000, MasterCard International Inc. filed a $5 million corporate lawsuit against Green Party candidate Ralph Nader for his parody ad of the "priceless" commercial.

In September 2000, a federal judge in New York rejected an effort by MasterCard to stop the Nader ad.

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