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September 01, 2000|Jeff Leeds

GOP Commercial Uses Humor to Jab Gore on Internet, Buddhists

The Republican Party plans to broadcast this 30-second ad today, titled "Really," in 16 states: Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.



National Media, a GOP consulting firm led by Alex Castellanos.


The Pictures

Opens with the camera zooming in on a television sitting on a kitchen counter. On the screen, Al Gore appears with Buddhist monks. The screen cuts to Gore speaking from the podium at the Democratic convention. The TV screen goes fuzzy. Then Gore is shown being interviewed by CNN. Then the camera shows the full kitchen scene again, slowing zooming in to the television, where Gore is speaking at low volume.


The Script

Female announcer: "There's Al Gore, reinventing himself on television again. Like I'm not going to notice. Who's he going to be today? The Al Gore who raises campaign money at a Buddhist temple? Or the one who promises campaign finance reform? Really. Al Gore, claiming credit for things he didn't even do."

Gore: "I took the initiative in creating the Internet."

Female announcer: "Yeah, and I invented the remote control too. Another round of this and I'll sell my television."


It is true that Al Gore attended a fund-raiser luncheon in 1996 at the Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple in Hacienda Heights, Calif., prompting a federal inquiry. It is also true that Gore has said the first bill he would send to Congress if he is elected president is a campaign finance reform package. He supports a bipartisan proposal to ban soft- money contributions. And it is true that Gore once took credit for creating the Internet, but he has called it an awkward comment that was supposed to describe his support of funding for scientists involved in the early days of the computer network.


This is the first direct attack of the general election by the Republicans on Gore. And it raises one of the vice president's most troublesome scandals, the Buddhist temple fund-raiser. The ad has a humorous tone at a time when campaigns face a potential voter backlash if they appear too negative. The Republicans hope the ad will raise questions about Gore's credibility and truthfulness, linking him to some of the negative qualities attributed to the Clinton White House.

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