From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
The Edwards campaign said they originally planned to go on the air the week after July 4th, but "we're running ahead of our budget plan, so we decided to get on the air," Deputy Campaign Manager Jonathan Prince said on a conference call with reporters. They call this a "strong buy," but did not elaborate except to say, "You're going to see it a lot if you're in New Hampshire," Prince said.
Edwards raised $14 million in the first quarter -- third in the Democratic race behind Clinton ($26 million) and Obama ($25.7 million). The campaign says their goal for this quarter is $9 million, which would again be behind Clinton and Obama, who are widely expected to raise upwards of $20 million each. Edwards could potentially find himself doubled in campaign cash, but his campaign says the goal all along has been to raise $22 million by the end of the second quarter and $40 million by the end of the year.
But Edwards has been consistently third in national and most New Hampshire polls. So, the question becomes, is being ahead of their budget enough?
"It's pointless to worry about who's in the lead" in June, said Edwards adviser Joe Trippi, who was Howard Dean's campaign manager in 2003-2004. "We know what our message is. We want to start getting that message out in a powerful way. In New Hampshire, look, we don't want to be third. We want to start making our case on television. We've made it on the ground, and we're taking the next step."