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Forbes' Checkbook Opens Early

How do you run for president if you're Steve Forbes -- and don't have the record of a big state governor, or the recognition of a former cabinet secretary, or the stature of a former war hero and United States Senator?

If you're Steve Forbes, you get out your checkbook and buy what you need, early.

"You know the American people, god bless them, spend most of their time worried about their families, their communities, their workÂ…" Forbes says into the camera in his newest television commercial.

The ads, millions of dollars worth, are on the air all over the country, reports CBS News Correspondent Stephanie Lambidakis. They're trying to make candidate Forbes more likable.

"Something is still missing," Forbes continues, in the ad. "And that is, time spent with our families."

They hope to change the image of the stiff, one-issue flat tax candidate whose appeal faded in 1996.

Bob Garfield of Advertising Age sees it this way: "What mainly Steve Forbes can do with his advertising is get attention, by being first out of the gate. By spending a lot of money he is forcing himself into the public eye."

Forbes the candidate is remembered for drowning Bob Dole in a sea of negative commercials in 1996, and Republican opponents worry he will do it again.

Mike Murphy worked for Bob Dole four years ago. "When you pick a fight with Steve Forbes, in one state he can go drop a ton of bricks on your head in 49 other states, because he has that blank check, (he has) nuclear warfare capacity," according to Murphy.

But without natural charisma and only single-digit voter support, television is Forbes' best shot to propel him to the White House. And he's prepared to keep on spending millions to try to get here.

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