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CAMPAIGN 2000 | Ad Watch

For First Time, a Bush Commercial Promotes Tax Cut Proposal

September 16, 2000|Jeff Leeds

Republican George W. Bush's campaign released this 30-second tele-vision advertisement, titled "Compare," on Thursday. It is set to run in 18 states starting today.

Producer

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

The Script

Female announcer: "Al Gore's prescription plan forces seniors into a government-run HMO. Gov. Bush gives seniors a choice. Gore says he's for school accountability, but requires no real testing. Gov. Bush requires tests and holds schools accountable for results. Gore's targeted tax cuts leave out 50 million people--half of all taxpayers. Under Bush, every taxpayer gets a tax cut and no family pays more than a third of their income to Washington. Gov. Bush has real plans that work for real people."

The Pictures

Bush speaking to a group of supporters outdoors. Bush and his wife, Laura, sitting on a school stairway with a group of children. A rapid-fire sequence of scenes from daily life, such as a woman sitting on a porch swing, a young woman in a classroom. Shots of an elderly black woman. Bush speaking to a large crowd. Bush wearing a hard hat speaking to workers in an industrial area.

Accuracy

The ad is incorrect in saying Gore's plan would "force" seniors into a federal insurance company. Accepting the drug benefit would be voluntary under Gore's plan. The Medicare program would contract with a bulk buyer of medicines, as some private insurers do, to provide prescription drugs. On education, the ad makes another subjective claim: Under Gore, states would have to administer a national test to a sample of students or risk losing certain federal funding. Bush would require that the same sampling test be given more often and also would require state-level testing every year for grades 3-8. On taxes, 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. Gore's cuts and credits would be available to people paying for college tuition, long-term care and other specific expenses. Contrary to the ad's suggestion, almost no taxpayers currently pay more than one-third of their income in taxes, according to the IRS.

Scorecard

The ad marks the first attempt by the campaign to promote Bush's tax cut plan in a general election advertisement. Bush is also seeking to contrast his policies with Gore's on health care, which Democrats are hoping will be among the vice president's strongest issues. Almost all of the GOP's harshest attacks on Gore have come in ads from the Republican Party; this is the first time a Bush campaign ad has directly criticized the vice president.

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