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CAMPAIGN 2000

Ad Watch

November 03, 2000|Jeff Leeds

Gore Attacks Bush's Texas Record on Big-Oil Tax Breaks, Health Care

Vice President Al Gore's campaign released this 30-second commercial, titled to rotate among at least 17 states. Gore and the Democratic Party are spending about $15 million on ads this week.

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Producer

The Campaign Co., composed of principals from consulting firms Squier, Knapp, Dunn; Shrum, Devine, Donilon; and consultant Carter Eskew.

The Script

Announcer: "As governor, George W. Bush gave big oil a tax break while opposing health care for 220,000 kids. Texas now ranks 50th in family health care. Hes left the minimum wage at $3.35 an hour, let polluters police themselves. Today Texas ranks last in air quality. Now Bush promises the same $1 trillion from Social Security to two different groups. He squanders the surplus on a tax cut for those making over $300,000. Is he ready to lead America?"

The Pictures

Shows Bush looking embarrassed. Cuts in images of oil drills, a smoggy city skyline and a woman caring for an ill child. Words on screen track the announcer. Ends with the on-screen words: "On Nov. 7 ask yourself . . . Is he ready to lead America?"

Accuracy

It's true Bush approved a tax break for low-production oil wells in 1999. He also initially backed a plan that would limit the number of children eligible for the Children's Health Insurance Program, but he ultimately agreed with an expansion approved by the state Legislature. The minimum wage in Texas has remained at $3.35 an hour during Bush's tenure with no changes recommended by the governor or offered by the Democratic Legislature. Bush would spend $1 trillion from the projected $2.4 trillion surplus in the Social Security program over 10 years for workers to invest in new private accounts but hasnt explained how he could still pay benefits to near-retirees. On tax cuts, the ad cites a study by the generally liberal Citizens for Tax Justice, which found 43% of the tax cuts would go to the top 1% of income earners. But that figure assumes Bush's elimination of the estate tax would mostly benefit the wealthy, an assumption Bush aides say is unfair.

Analysis

The ad, likely the last released by the Gore campaign, essentially wraps together a series of recent attacks on Bush's plans and Texas record to back up the argument Gore's campaign is making on the stump: that Bush isn't experienced enough to be president. Gore's strategists hope the ad prompts voters to pose that question to themselves as they walk into voting booths Nov. 7.

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

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