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Strategy Memo: Ad It All Up

Anyone catch the entertaining West Virginia vs. Colorado football game last night? Highlight of the night was when the sideline reporter quoted one of the players venting about his distaste for the oxygen masks that help tired players breathe: "Oxygen is for astronauts," he reportedly told her. As Reid lets me take over SM this morning, here is what Washington is watching today:

--House and Senate leaders last night gave bipartisan support to the Bush administration's efforts to prepare "a massive intervention to revive the U.S. financial system, including a plan to sweep away the unpaid loans that are choking banks and blocking the flow of money to borrowers," the Washington Post's Appelbaum and Montgomery report. Meeting with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, congressional leaders "were told that the consequences would be grave if they failed to pass legislation by the end of next week," a deadline Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reportedly committed to.

--The debate over the economy in the presidential race reached a new plateau yesterday when both campaigns released TV ads slamming each other for who their economic advisers are. The McCain campaign struck first, releasing a new ad at around 5:30 Eastern last night stating that Obama is advised on the economy by former Fannie Mae chief executive Franklin Raines.

--The Obama camp at first responded with a statement from Raines: "I am not an advisor to Barack Obama, nor have I provided his campaign with advice on housing or economic matters." It should have been obvious that another ad was coming after this statement from Obama spokesman Bill Burton: "This is another flat-out lie from a dishonorable campaign that is increasingly incapable of telling the truth. Frank Raines has never advised Senator Obama about anything -- ever. And by the way, someone whose campaign manager and top advisor worked and lobbied for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shouldn't be throwing stones from his seven glass houses."

--At about 10:00 Eastern last night, the Obama camp released its own ad, knocking McCain for those they say advise him on the economy: Carly Fiorina, former Sen. Phil Gramm and Pres. Bush, calling them "fundamentally wrong." As the AP's Pickler reports, the Obama camp also provided an e-mail Raines sent to Fiorina telling her that he is not an adviser to Obama.

--Still, who knows if these ads will ever actually air on TV? As Politico's Martin reports, many of the ads released by both campaigns "amount to video press releases" that are "aimed at driving the conversation online and on cable news - where the day-in, day-out campaign is increasingly fought." This is all part of the evolution of campaigns, which smartly are using technology as much as possible. "All of this costs next to nothing," Martin writes. "Thanks to modern technology, it costs the campaigns little to quickly crank out the spots and pop them on YouTube. And, with websites and TV stations playing them for free, they don't bother spending much if any cash to put them on the air."

--ABC News's Tapper noticed something yesterday that we did as well. Speaking yesterday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin referred to what she hopes will be the next administration as "the Palin and McCain administration." Tapper also notes: "I've also heard her refer to McCain as 'my running mate' -- a term I don't recall ever hearing a VP nominee use when discussing the guy at the top of the ticket. Maybe the fact that the crowds are leaving after she speaks, while McCain is speaking, is getting to her."

--His last point must be troubling for the McCain campaign, though as long as voters go to the polls they could care less whether it's because they like McCain or Palin. But one wonders how McCain is handling it. At joint rallies he hears "Pa-Lin" and "Sa-Rah" chants far more often than his own name, and now, as Martin also noted yesterday, people are leaving rallies after Palin speaks.

--Horserace Talk Of The Day: The polls are terribly close right now, in national polling and battleground states, though I receive e-mails from some unahppy Obama supporters every time I headline a blog post on a new poll with something like "The Race Is Even" or "Dead Heat." Perhaps they subscribe to the theory of Reader's Digest's Carl Cannon, who noted in his Loose Cannon blog earlier this week that though the polls show the race about even, he believes Obama is slightly ahead because younger voters -- who overwhelmingly favor Obama -- are under-polled. As of this morning, Obama holds a 2.1-point lead in the RCP National Average.

--Today On The Trail: Obama is in Coral Gables, Fla., this morning for a meeting with his economic advisers and a "Women for the Change We Need Rally." McCain starts the day in Green Bay, Wisc., giving an economic policy address to the local Chamber of Commerce, before heading to Blaine, Minn., for a rally and ending the day in the nation's capital. Palin will be with McCain through the Minnesota event, before she heads down to Orlando, Fla. Biden is also holding a women's rally in the D.C. suburb of Sterling, Va.

--Kyle Trygstad