From CBS News' Andante Higgins
While John McCain is in Las Vegas raising money, his campaign released a new ad billed as the first television ad of the general election and is preparing for a bus tour across America where McCain will be reintroduced to America.
The ad is entitled "624787" and was McCain's official Navy identification number. Images of McCain as a POW along with speeches and primary night wins with flying confetti cross the screen while the announcer in the ad calls McCain "the American president Americans have been waiting for." "624787" will run statewide in New Mexico in what aides are calling a significant ad buy.
McCain's camp tells CBS News that while many Americans know Senator McCain was a POW, and ran against Bush in 2000, they don't assume that everyone knows much more about him. To reach these voters who may have missed the story of his life, McCain is launching a week long "bio" tour to reintroduce himself to America. At the same he will urge American's to serve a cause greater than themselves.
The "Service to America" tour will travel to areas with significance to McCain's timeline in history where he will give a speech about his life and times there along with virtues and lessons learned. His schedule will also include a "community service stop" each day to places like Children's Hospitals and community colleges. McCain will also help welcome troops home on this tour.
He begins Monday in Mississippi, the home state of his grandfather who served as an admiral in the Navy.
The Straight Talk Express will also hit Alexandria, Virginia, where he will speak about lessons he learned from a high school English teacher, the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he learned to fly, and Jacksonville, Florida, where he lived when deployed to Vietnam. John McCain will wrap the tour in Prescott, Arizona, on Saturday, April 5th, where he will give a speech on the Yavapai Courthouse steps, reminiscent of Barry Goldwater's presidential bid.