- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 20, 2008

An antiwar coalition is retooling its message for a multimillion-dollar campaign to link the Iraq war to Americans’ economic woes. The group’s leaders will announce its plan tomorrow.

The new tactic by Americans Against Escalation in Iraq (AAEI), a coalition of liberal groups including MoveOn.org, follows its failed Iraq Summer campaign, which spent at least $3 million prodding congressional Republicans to support the Democrats’ troop pullout plan.

The group’s leaders now plan to spend millions of dollars “shining a light on the cost of war and mobilizing the growing majority of Americans who oppose spending billions to continue Bushs endless war,” AAEI spokeswoman Moira Mack said.

The strategy is dubbed Iraq Campaign 2008.

The group also has taken aim at the Republican presidential front-runner, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, for saying he would keep U.S. forces in Iraq for 100 years if necessary.

The early focus on Mr. McCain will likely rekindle Republican charges that the group is partisan, criticism voiced when the summer campaign did not go after congressional Democrats who opposed the pullout plan.

The upcoming campaign will highlight what the group views as the majority of Americans who want their tax dollars spent on priorities at home and “establishing real security throughout the world” instead of the Iraq war, Ms. Mack said.

“As economic concerns weigh heavily on the minds of Americans, opposition to President Bushs reckless war in Iraq continues to grow,” she said. “The massive cost of the war in Iraq — hurtling toward one trillion dollars — has increased demand for a strategy to bring U.S. troops home.”

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