Viewers watching the Democratic convention on network television may find themselves surprised to see ads from the DNCC’s newest major sponsor … John McCain.  Thanks to a record donation haul in July and a low burn rate, the McCain campaign has to burn off millions of dollars in the next three weeks.  What better way to reach potential voters than to provide a series of 60-second counterpoints to the rhetoric in Denver?

Sen. John McCain has so much spare cash on hand — he collected a record $27 million in July — that the Republican candidate plans to run campaign ads during the networks’ coverage of the Democratic National Convention later this month.

Because Mr. McCain has agreed to accept $84 million in public financing for the general election, the presumptive presidential nominee has only until Sept. 4, when he accepts his party’s nomination, to spend the more than $21 million he has on hand.

“We continue to have record months of fundraising. This is now the fifth month in a row that we have exceeded the month before,” said McCain campaign manager Rick Davis. The candidate’s advertising budget for August is expected to exceed $20 million, he said, and, by the Republican convention, Mr. McCain is on track to spend some $60 million on TV advertising during the whole primary campaign.

So much for laying low during the Democratic convention.  Normally, the opposition keeps quiet and surrenders the spotlight during conventions, presumably because the viewers so interested in the Democratic convention that they watch it on TV won’t have any interest in Republicans, and vice versa.  However, McCain has some significant draw among independents and disaffected Democrats, and it makes more sense for McCain to get aggressive during Denver.

Presumably, Obama will follow suit — although his team wouldn’t comment one way or the other on this story.  The Obamacan movement has mostly gone bust, as Newsweek reported this week.  Obama has managed only meager movement among Republicans, far less than McCain among Democrats.

Also, Obama doesn’t have the same luxury McCain has in spending this money; he can use it in the general campaign, and in fact needs to keep it for that purpose.  Obama already has to travel to Switzerland during the GOP convention to raise money, thanks to his renege on a pledge to accept public financing, as McCain has done.

McCain can steal a little march on Obama diring Denver’s convention.  It may not move the needle in the polls, but it sticks the needle into Obama’s ribs — something that Obama hasn’t tolerated well in this campaign.