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Eye Surgery Takes Gilmore Off the GOP Campaign Trail

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Former Virginia governor James S. Gilmore III underwent emergency eye surgery Friday to repair a partially detached retina, a condition that will force him to suspend campaigning in his long-shot bid for the White House, aides said yesterday.

Spokesman Dick Leggitt said Gilmore has canceled all of his appearances at the urging of his doctors, who sent him home but restricted his travel. The surgery was performed in Richmond after Gilmore reported seeing flashes in his right eye, Leggitt said.

Leggitt reported that the doctors have said Gilmore is likely to retain his sight, but he said it remains unclear what the long-term implications of the surgery will be for the campaign. "He is very anxious to get back to campaigning, but for the moment that is not possible," Leggitt said.

Gilmore, who served for four years as Virginia governor, has campaigned as the "true conservative" in the battle for the GOP presidential nomination. He has accused the front-runners of failing to adhere to conservative principles. But Gilmore has generated little attention and raised little money.

-- Michael D. Shear

Romney Leads in Ads

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) has placed more television ads than all of the other 2008 presidential contenders combined, a report issued by Nielsen Co. found. Through mid-June, his leading Republican rivals, former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), and the Democratic front-runners, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.), had not run any TV ads, the Nielsen report said.

The bulk of Romney's TV spots were concentrated in early-decider states Iowa (2,036 ads) and New Hampshire (788). But Romney also ran local ads in South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Minnesota, Nielsen said. His ads are likely to spread soon to states with primaries on Feb. 5, including New York, North Carolina and Missouri, according to his campaign.

Giuliani has run radio ads in most of the nation's major media markets, with a particular emphasis on Kansas City, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Providence, R.I., the report said.

Except for a few ads from former senator John Edwards (N.C.), the only two Democrats with TV spots through June 10 were New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (2,232 ads) and Sen. Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut (1,664). All of their ads were bought in New Hampshire and Iowa, Nielsen said.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) earned the distinction of running the first TV ad in the campaign, on Feb. 18, or 625 days before Election Day. When President Bush ran in 2000, his first ad ran in August 1998.


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