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Independent Group to Air TV Ads Echoing Clinton Attacks on Obama

Roger V. Salazar, a Clinton administration official who is the group's designated spokesman, used carefully selected language to describe the undertaking.

"We want to communicate to people where they're paying the most attention right now. Right now, that's Ohio and Texas," he said. "Senator Clinton is a recognized champion of these issues, and we support her positions on health care, the mortgage crisis, the economy, and we say so in the spots. These are positive ads that serve to raise awareness about the issues."

The independent effort, first exposed on political blogs run by the Atlantic magazine and ABC News, came as candidates filed reports to the Federal Election Commission detailing their January fundraising efforts. Obama (Ill.), Clinton (N.Y.) and Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) showed dramatic increases in the amounts they raised and spent in January, the first month when they faced caucus and primary contests.

Obama's report indicated that he spent nearly $30 million last month, including $7.8 million on television ads in the final week, as he approached Super Tuesday. Obama finished the month with $18.9 million in cash and $1.1 million in outstanding payments.

Clinton's $27.6 million in spending left her with $8.6 million in the bank and $7.5 million in debts.

McCain's report showed that he spent $10.3 million of the $11.6 million he raised, much of it on television ads and automated telephone calls. He finished the month with $5.2 million in cash and $5.5 million in debts.

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (R) raised just under $4 million last month, most of it on the heels of his victory in the Iowa caucuses. He spent $4.9 million, leaving him with just under $1 million.

Database editor Sarah Cohen, staff researcher Madonna Lebling and research editor Alice Crites contributed to this report.

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