11/16/2012 10:50 am ET

Super PAC Commercials: Senate Campaigns Criticize Ads

Conservative groups like Crossroads GPS, Americans for Prosperity and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce began running negative ads against Tim Kaine in November 2011, Elleithee said. In the end, outside groups spent more than $30 million against Kaine, with nearly $11 million of that coming from Crossroads.

Conventional wisdom usually dictates that negative ads benefit campaigns more than positive ones. But Elleithee said against the backdrop of so many negative ads — and so many of them done poorly — Kaine was able to realize a rise in the polls with positive ads.

The outside spending helped Allen make up the difference in one-on-one fundraising against Kaine, Marcus said. But, he added, "a lot of what they spent money on wasn't targeted correctly, or we wouldn't have spent the money that way had we had that money."

"It was crap. It was total crap," Elleithee said. Marcus agreed.

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