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CAMPAIGN 2000 | Ad Watch

New GOP Commercial Attempts to Disarm Gore on Prescription Plan

September 22, 2000|Jeff Leeds

The Republican Party is broadcasting a 30-second commercial, titled "Notebook," set to air initially in California and 17 other states: Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

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Producer

Cold Harbor Films, the production unit of GOP consulting firm National Media of Alexandria, Va.

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The Script

Announcer: On prescription medicines, compare: Al Gore will charge seniors a new $600-a-year government access fee. George Bush opposes Gore's $600 fee. Gore's plan: When seniors turn 64, they must join a drug HMO selected by Washington or they are on their own. Bush's plan: Seniors choose and it covers all catastrophic health-care costs. Gore's plan doesn't and has a government HMO and a $600 fee. A prescription for disaster. *

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The Pictures

The backdrop is a graphic of a yellow spiral notebook, broken into two side-by-side columns, one for Bush and one for Gore. Short phrases such as "Age 64, Forced to Join Drug HMO" appear and disappear to track the announcer's words. Ends with a closeup of a television on a kitchen counter, with Gore speaking on the screen.

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Accuracy

Like an earlier ad released by the Bush campaign, the GOP spot misleads viewers in its attacks on Gore's prescription drug plan. The drug benefit Gore proposes to add to Medicare would be entirely voluntary. Only seniors who enroll for the benefit would have to pay additional monthly premiums. The "government access fee" referred to in the ad is the projected premium recipients would pay for one year's worth of drugs in 2010, long after the plan would take effect. Bush's plan does not spell out the premium costs. He would largely rely on private HMOs to devise their own drug coverage plans--and premiums.

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Scorecard

This ad marks the GOP's latest bid to disarm Gore by criticizing the drug benefit proposal. The side-by-side notebook format, first used in an ad by a Republican Senate candidate in Michigan, in effect blurs the line between the two candidates' plans. The frequency of ads on the issue makes clear the GOP believes the drug benefit remains critical to Gore's lead in the polls.

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