Presidential campaign ad spending tops $87M

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NEW YORK (AP) -- President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney and their allies already have spent $86 million on TV ads in the nine most hotly contested states.

It's an early and unprecedented level of spending for a close general election race that's just weeks old.

The Obama campaign has been the largest single advertiser so far, pouring $31 million into commercials.

Romney's campaign has spent slightly more than $5 million on ads.

But deep-pocketed, conservative-leaning independent groups have more than made up the difference by spending $42 million to date on ads to defeat Obama. Independent groups interested in seeing Obama get re-elected have spent nearly $9 million on campaign ads.