Bush Admen Launch Advocacy Shop

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High-powered Washington, D.C-based public-affairs firms Burson-Marsteller and Quinn Gillespie & Associates LLC are teaming up with two-thirds of the Bush 2004 campaign ad brain trust, Russ Schriefer and Stuart Stevens, to form a joint venture, 360Advantage, to provide one-stop advertising/coalition building/lobbying services.

Quinn Gillespie's Jack Quinn, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Al Gore and counsel to President Bill Clinton, says 360Advantage will target issue campaigns, not political ones. Stevens and Schriefer have a separate firm that will continue to consult Republican candidates.

He pointed to upcoming battles over telecommunications legislation, immigration reform, and taxes as fertile territory for the new company, which will be based at Burson Marsteller.

360Advantage will be run by Schriefer and Stevens, though it will get to tap into the political brain trusts of both partner companies, including Quinn and former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie.

Will the group be looking for some of that half-billion dollars in 527 group spending (issue advertisers like the Swift Boat Vets). Stevens says sure. "That's something I think we can be good at, he told B&C from somewhere in the Congo, where he is advising on elections there. "In all likelihood 527's will be involved in some big campaigns and we will be in there swinging."