Here's a little expenditure that you won't find detailed in the current budget.
A media firm working for President Bush's re-election campaign has a share of the administration's publicly funded $12.6 million advertising effort touting the new Medicare law.
National Media Inc. of Alexandria, Va., is purchasing $9.5 million worth of television advertising for a 30-second commercial that the administration intends to educate seniors about changes in Medicare such as the new prescription drug benefit, executives involved in the advertising campaign said Wednesday.
Critics of the new law contended the firm's involvement is evidence that the administration is mounting a political rather than educational campaign for the new law.
"There are hundreds of media buyers out there and they get the contract," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill.
Emanuel said campaign media buyers typically are paid 10 to 15 percent of the cost of air time. But executives would not say how much the firm is being paid.
[Health and Human Services spokesman Bill] Pierce said HHS chose a team led by Ketchum Communications and including National Media to manage the ad campaign, which also covers airing the ads on radio, in newspapers and on the Internet in English and Spanish. He said Ketchum and National Media have done ad work for Medicare for three years.
National Media partners include Robin Roberts, the media buyer for Bush's 2000 campaign, and Alex Castellanos, who is well-known for creating sharp attack ads including the Republican Party commercial about Democrat Al Gore in 2000 that subtly flashed the word "RATS" across the screen.