When is the cavalry coming?

“It’s October 21st, and if you can’t say it by October 21st, then chances are you’re not going to say anything,” said Chris LaCivita, the strategist behind the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004. LaCivita has been working for a new conservative third-party group this year, the American Issues Project.

That group, known in the political community as “AIP,” was eyed by some in the GOP as a potential major player in taking on Obama. They spent nearly $3 million in key states in August on a tough ad tying the Illinois senator to 60s-era domestic terrorist William Ayers and promised additional spots in the fall campaign.

That never happened.

“Donors just weren’t willing to give the money,” explains LaCivita. “They were hurt badly in the market crash and they were always concerned about how McCain would react.”