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After weeks of being out-advertised by Barack Obama, Republican presidential candidate John McCain and the Republican Party are nearly matching the Democratic nominee ad for ad in key battleground markets.

Ad spending and ad placement data obtained from Democratic and Republican operatives show that in the closing days of the campaign the Republican voice has grown louder in states such as Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

For instance, Obama had been scheduled to buy about $2.5 million in Florida ads for the last week of the campaign. McCain is now set to spend about $1.6 million and the Republican National Committee added $1.5 million to their buy in the state this week. Obama appears to have added more weight to his ads since.

The ad war is especially noticeable in Florida's central corridor, which includes Tampa, Orlando and West Palm Beach.

Those near-parity levels in crucial states come with a price. McCain has had to trim back his ads in Minnesota, Maine, New Hampshire and Wisconsin, giving Obama even greater edges there.

A map of the states where McCain and the RNC are spending their money also illustrates the defensive nature of their 11th hour strategy. Except for Pennsylvania, the McCain-GOP focus was on trying to hold states that President Bush won in 2004.



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