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Clinton Schedule to Go Public

Liberal Groups Plan Mobilization

Hillary Clinton greets supporters outside the Lancaster Brewing Company in Lancaster, Pa.
Hillary Clinton greets supporters outside the Lancaster Brewing Company in Lancaster, Pa. (By Charles Dharapak -- Associated Press)
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A broad range of liberal interest groups yesterday announced plans for a costly independent drive to mobilize left-leaning voters for the 2008 election, much of it targeting younger and minority voters.

Leaders from the loose coalition of groups predicted a combined spending effort that will total more than $350 million.

During a news conference describing the endeavor, leaders from several of the groups made it clear that the effort is aimed at taking on presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain. McCain is already the target of an independent ad paid for by the Fund for America, a group financed by wealthy financier George Soros, and by the Service Employees International Union.

Heather Smith, executive director of Rock the Vote, said youth turnout in the primaries has proven that "the conventional wisdom" about youth apathy is false. "In every early primary contest so far, turnout has either doubled, tripled or quadrupled," she said. Young people are "paying attention to politics at rates we've never seen." also plans to engage in the effort "to get the progressive issues front and center in the debate," said Ilyse Hogue, the group's campaign director. She predicted the group would spend $30 million to identify newly registered young voters, and to track them through their e-mail, cellphone and online networking presences.

Hogue also described an effort to help Democrats capture 60 seats in the U.S. Senate.

Other groups planning the voter mobilization effort include the Campaign for America's Future; the AFL-CIO; Women's Voices, Women Vote; the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN); and the National Council of La Raza.

-- Matthew Mosk

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