At an Annenberg Public Policy Center forum, strategists said pro-Democrat groups “shattered spending records with extensively market-tested ads attacking” President Bush, “but they missed their mark because they lacked a coherent theme.”

Republican strategists said right-leaning groups “hammered on a consistent message — one that depicted the president as a strong leader and attacked” John Kerry as an “unsteady leader who was too liberal to protect the nation.” Media Fund President Erik Smith said Media Fund audience-tested 250 different ads before deciding what to run.

Even so, he conceded that the ads run by pro-Bush groups had the advantage…. Democratic groups didn’t have that clear or consistent message.

(Cox/Daytona Beach News-Journal, Dec. 7).