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CAMPAIGN 2000 | Ad Watch

GOP Commercial Attacks Gore's Environmental Record

August 10, 2000|Jeff Leeds

The Republican National Committee is spending an estimated $3.7 million this week to air an advertisement in 17 competitive states from the traditionally Democratic Pacific Northwest to the tossup Midwest, but not in California.

Producer

National Media from Alexandria, Va.; led by longtime Republican media consultant Alex Castellanos. (The firm is also purchasing air time for George W. Bush's campaign.)

The Pictures

Opening scenes of Bush at a podium and Bush next to a schoolgirl. Vice President Al Gore is shown on a television screen. A Texas silhouette has a background of grassy fields and blue skies. An aerial shot of the Gore farm in Tennessee. A pipe is shown with a sewage-like outfall.

The Script

Female announcer: "While George Bush offers a positive issue agenda, more negative attacks from Al Gore. The truth? George Bush is cleaning up Texas. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that Texas leads America in reducing toxic pollution. And Al Gore? Gore has allowed mining companies to mine zinc from his property. They've been cited for polluting the source of local drinking water. All while Gore's made half a million dollars in mining royalties. Even on the environment, Al Gore says one thing but does another."

Accuracy

According to federal data, the commercial correctly states that Texas cut its release of toxic chemicals by more than any other state between 1995 and 1998. But the state also started with a high volume. On a percentage basis, Texas cut its releases by about 16% during that period, ranking it in the middle of the pack nationally. Gore has received $20,000 in annual royalties for the last 25 years from the mining companies leasing land on his farm property near Carthage, Tenn. The mining firms have been cited periodically for violating state water quality standards. In January, a broken pipe caused excessive waste water to run into the river on the property.

Scorecard

In responding to an earlier ad by the Democrats attacking Bush's environmental record in Texas, the Republican National Committee is seeking to paint Gore as a hypocrite. Democrats consider Gore's handling of the environment to be one of his strongest issues, but GOP leaders are trying to weaken his position by casting the vice president as a shrill negative campaigner.

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