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CAMPAIGN 2000 | Ad Watch

New Bush Commercial Emphasizes His Belief in Smaller Government

October 12, 2000|Jeff Leeds

Texas Gov. George W. Bush's campaign released this 60-second ad, titled "Trust," after the first presidential debate, running in 17 states.

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Producer

Maverick Media, an Austin, Texas, firm headed by media consultant Mark McKinnon.

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The Script

Bush: "I believe we need to encourage personal responsibility so people are accountable for their actions. And I believe in government that is responsible to the people. That's the difference in philosophy between my opponent and me. He trusts government. I trust you. I trust you to invest some of your own Social Security money for higher returns. I trust local people to run their own schools. In return for federal money, I will insist on performance. And if schools continue to fail, we'll give parents different options. I trust you with some of the budget surplus. I believe one-fourth of the surplus should go back to the people who pay the bills. My opponent proposes targeted tax cuts only for those he calls the right people. And that means half of all income-tax payers get nothing at all. We should help people live their lives but not run them. Because when we trust individuals, when we respect local control of schools, when we empower communities, together we can ignite America's spirit and renew our purpose."

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The Pictures

Bush is shown in a blue button-down shirt, speaking to the camera. A woman holding a baby cradles a telephone on her shoulder. Bush is seen talking to schoolchildren; in a classroom next to his wife; wearing a hard hat talking to workers; wearing safety goggles.

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Accuracy

It's true that Bush would allow individuals to privately invest some of their Social Security money, generating a higher return if the investments are sound. But he makes a misleading claim about his tax plan, which, at a cost of about $1.3 trillion, would eat about 59% of the $2.2-trillion projected budget surplus over the next 10 years. Republicans are using the $2.2-trillion figure in another ad. Bush's 25% figure is in the context of the whole surplus--the federal budget plus the extra money coming into the Social Security trust fund, which is a total of $4.6 trillion. But the ad is essentially correct in stating that Gore's targeted cuts would not affect 50 million people, primarily those without children or with annual incomes above $100,000. On education, Bush would require mandatory student tests and he would divert federal funds to give tuition vouchers to children in schools that fail to meet minimum standards over three years.

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Scorecard

This ad reflects several of the broader themes in the presidential campaign with the Republican candidates favoring smaller government, tax cuts and personal responsibility. Bush seeks to contrast those positions by casting Gore as a proponent of large bureaucracies. The emphasis on trust in the ad is also a key issue in the campaign since polls show Bush ranks higher on credibility than Gore.

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

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