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Kaine launches first TV ad

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine is on the air with the first TV ad from his campaign.

Called “Best,” it paints Kaine as a bipartisan budget-cutter.

“During the worst recession in decades, I worked with both parties to cut Virginia’s budget by five billion dollars,” says Kaine in the ad, speaking directly to the camera. “We were fiscally responsible while advancing our most important priorities, like education.”

You can see the ad here:

Kaine has bought $4.5 million in air time through the fall.

Rival Republican candidate George Allen has already put TV ads on the air this summer, including one protesting defense cuts and another featuring women supporters talking about why they like him.

Allen’s campaign on Tuesday called the Kaine ad an “extreme makeover” that “recycles ‘exaggerated’ and debunked claims in an attempt to hide his true record” of higher education cuts and proposed tax increases.

But neither candidate has spent as much time or money on ads in their own race as outside groups  — like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS group — have done. A recent Associated Press story said the Center for Responsive Politics has estimated independent groups have spent about $6.3 million so far in this race. The CRP doesn’t track certain issue ads, and the Kaine campaign estimates outside groups have spent about $8.5 million on ads in this Senate race already.

You can read the AP story on outside money here.

The Kaine campaign said they purposely made their first ad one in which Kaine speaks directly to the camera, to counter the third-party negative ads and because they think voters are tired of anonymous ads.

Polls in this race have consistently — for the past year — shown Allen and Kaine in a dead heat.

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