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CAMPAIGN 2000 | Ad Watch

Bush Attacks Gore's Debate Vow of 'Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere'

September 07, 2000|Jeff Leeds

The George W. Bush campaign released this 30-second ad, titled "Credibility," due to run along with two other spots already on the air in a field of 21 competitive states.

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Producer

Maverick Media, an ad firm run by media consultant Mark McKinnon.

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The Script

Female announcer: "Labor Day weekend, Governor Bush accepts a record five national debates. March 14, Al Gore says he'd debate on CNN. July 16, Al Gore said he'd debate on NBC. When it was politically convenient, Gore said he'd debate "anytime, anyplace, anywhere." Now that Gov. Bush has accepted, Gore says "unacceptable." Does Al Gore now mean debates depend on his meaning of "anytime, anywhere?" If we can't trust Al Gore on debates, why should we trust him on anything?"

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The Pictures

Opens with a shot of Bush, wearing a loose-fitting blue shirt, speaking outdoors at a microphone. Gore is shown during an interview in a room with three desktop computers in the background; then a close-up of him speaking. Cut to a black screen with Gore's "anytime, anyplace, anywhere" quote fading into the "unacceptable" line. Cut to Al Gore in front of computers. Spot ends with the tagline on a black screen.

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Accuracy

It's true that Bush has proposed five debates, but the ad doesn't mention that two of them would be between the vice presidential candidates. It's also true Gore agreed to appear on NBC and on CNN, but Gore's campaign contends that the network debates are contingent on Bush's acceptance of three debates proposed by the Commission on Presidential Debates, a bipartisan group that has sponsored all of the general election White House debates since 1988. Gore charges that Bush is trying to minimize the debate audience because only the commission debates would be covered by all of the major networks. But Gore did not always make clear that he considered the commission debates a prerequisite for his participation in network forums. Gore did not mention that condition in the March interview on CNN cited by the ad.

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Scorecard

The ad could serve to blunt Gore's charge that Bush is trying to avoid a debate in front of a large audience. Morever, the ad attempts to illustrate Bush's charge that Gore lacks personal credibility. It is the same attack that the Republican Party tried last week with an ad showing Gore at the notorious 1996 Buddhist temple fund-raiser.

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