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Vacationing Bush to tape new campaign advertisements

President Bush, taking a break from the campaign trail during the Democratic convention, will tape a new batch of television advertisements today, using his 16,000-acre ranch in Crawford, Texas, as a backdrop.

The incumbent Republican, who stopped running all of his television ads last week, will return to the airwaves in August. However, it's unclear when the new commercials will air.

Some campaign aides said the new ads would be biographical; others said they wouldn't characterize it that way.

The campaign has bought at least $2 million worth of airtime to run ads next month on national cable networks, including CNN, ESPN, and the History Channel. It's about the same amount as he has spent on cable each month since he first went on the air in March.

Bush suspended campaign advertising because aides recognized that the spots would probably have little effect during the Democratic National Convention, which is producing floods of news coverage about Kerry.

Aides say that Bush also will continue to run ads next month in battleground states, although the campaign has not yet expended that money.

Kerry is pulling his television commercials in August to save millions of dollars for later in the campaign. Both Kerry and Bush have decided to accept public financing for the general election, which means they will have the same $75 million to spend from the day they are nominated until Nov. 2.

Because the Republican convention is five weeks later than Kerry's, the Democrat has to make his money go further.

The Democratic National Committee's independent expenditure office plans to close the gap, launching a massive ad campaign against Bush shortly after the convention. Liberal interest groups plan to do the same.

The Media Fund, headed by former Clinton administration official Harold Ickes, will run television ads, and the New Democrat Network will continue its Hispanic-targeted ad initiative.

Bush is unwinding at the ranch before the final stretch of the campaign, while Democrats spend the week in Boston at the national convention where Kerry, the junior senator from Massachusetts, will accept his party's nomination tomorrow.

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