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Ad Watch

November 01, 2000|Jeff Leeds

Bush Attack Takes Aim at the Truthfulness of Gore

George W. Bush's campaign released this ad, entitled "Nonsense," to run in 20 competitive states. Bush's campaign and the Republican Party are spending a combined $18 million on ads this week.

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Producer

Maverick Media, run by media consultant Mark McKinnon.

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The Script

Announcer: "Remember when Al Gore said his mother-in-law's prescription cost more than his dog's? His own aides said the story was made up. Now Al Gore is bending the truth again. The press calls Gore's Social Security attacks 'nonsense.' Governor Bush sets aside $2.4 trillion to strengthen Social Security and pay all benefits.

Gore: "There has never been a time in this campaign when I have said something that I know to be untrue. There has never been a time when I have said something untrue."

Announcer: "Really?"

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The Pictures

Opens with a shot of a TV screen, with shaky footage of Gore at a pharmacy. A newspaper clip floats in one corner. On the TV screen, Gore is shown speaking at the Democratic convention. Bush is shown wearing a hard hat and shaking the hand of a worker. On the TV screen, Gore is shown at a podium debating former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley. Closeup of Gore at the debate.

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Accuracy

The ad correctly describes what Gore said on the stump in Florida, that his mother-in-law's prescription for arthritis medication cost more than the same drug for the family dog, Shiloh. Aides later said that Gore mistakenly quoted cost figures from a congressional study instead of his own family's. Bush would set aside $2.4 trillion for Social Security, but Gore contends that Bush's plan to divert $1 trillion for private investment would not leave enough money to pay future retirees. The "press" report that said Gore's attack was "nonsense" refers to an editorial in the Wall Street Journal. Gore's statement in the ad was made during a debate last spring, before the statement on drug costs.

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Analysis

This is the toughest attack commercial the Bush camp has released and it will be the last ad produced by the Republican campaign, aides said. It responds to commercials from Gore and the Democratic Party that have raised doubts about Bush's plan to allow some private investment in Social Security. It also seeks to reinforce the Republican charge that Gore is untrustworthy. The ad's tone is especially noteworthy given the campaign's decision to pull an earlier GOP ad because it would contradict Bush's pledge to "change the tone" in Washington.

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Read archives of Ad Watch and recent campaign commercials at http://www.latimes.com/adwatch

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