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Pix of the prez nixed in campaign ads

As he readies his first political ads this month, Mel Martinez could have one less tool to advertise that he's the White House's chosen one in Florida's U.S. Senate race.

Thanks to a confusing new campaign-finance law, candidates like Martinez are finding it tougher to use what was once a staple image for presidential pals: made-for-TV shots of the commander-in-chief strolling with the candidate on the White House grounds.

From now on, this type of Bush-approved endorsement ad for another candidate could be considered a contribution to the president's own campaign -- because the president also benefits from it. That could exceed contribution limits, since the ads are hugely expensive.

A don't-ask-don't tell interpretation of the law will still allow Martinez, Bush's former housing secretary, to run ads of old footage of him and the president. But that's only if the two campaigns don't coordinate with each other. -- New law restricts ads for Martinez campaign (Miami Herald)