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Crossing Party Lines

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) will begin airing the first TV ads of his presidential campaign today in Iowa. [IMGCAP(1)]

The two biographical ads — one is 30 seconds, the other is 60 seconds — are running at what is described as a “low level” by his campaign.

“Choices,” the 60-second spot, focuses on Obama’s decision to become a community organizer in Chicago after graduating from Harvard Law School.

The 30-second spot, “Carry,” highlights his tenure in the Illinois Senate and seeks to portray Obama as a consensus builder capable of reaching across party lines.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the ad is that it features praise from state Sen. Kirk Dillard, a former DuPage County GOP chairman and prominent Republican in suburban Chicago who frequently is mentioned as a possible candidate for higher office.

On a conference call with reporters Monday, Dillard said he is not formally endorsing Obama and is supporting Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the 2008 GOP primary.

But he said he is looking for a candidate like Obama who can bring people together and said he would feel comfortable with Obama as commander in chief.

“I won’t lose a night’s sleep if Sen. Obama is my president,” Dillard said.

— Lauren W. Whittington

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