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CAMPAIGN 2000

Ad Watch

September 26, 2000|Jeff Leeds

GOP Claims the Nation Is SufferingFrom an 'Education Recession'

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The Republican Party this week released this 30-second commercial, titled "Education Recession," to begin airing today in 17 competitive states, including Florida, Maine, Iowa and Wisconsin.

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Producer

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

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The Script

Announcer: America's having a recession. Aneducation recession that's hurting our children. Our students rank last in the world in math and physics. And most fourth-graders in our cities can't read. TheClinton/Gore education recession: It's failing ourkids. But in Texas, George Bush raised standards and test scores soared. Now Texas leads the nation in academic improvement. Learn more about the Bush blueprint for accountability, high standards and local control.

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The Pictures

The ad starts with a series of black-and-whitestill shots: a boy sitting on a stairwell in what appears to be a school, a little girl sits on stairs outside, a teacher stands at a chalkboard in a nearly empty classroom. Bush, in color, is speaking in frontof bright lights at a microphone. A young man is shown walking in cap and gown. Graduates throw their caps in the air. Bush is shown reading to a multiracial group of children.

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Accuracy

It is true that U.S. 12th-graders did rank last inphysics out of 16 industrialized countries and third from the bottom in math in a 1998 report by the National Center for Education Statistics. But theaverage math SAT score in the U.S. rose this year toits highest point in 31 years. It also is true that arecent Rand study found Texas leading in academic improvement, but the finding was based on test scores up to 1996, just two years after Bush became governor. Test scores for elementary and high school student shave risen under Bush, but SAT scores for college-bound students have fallen during his term and remain below the national average.

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Scorecard

The ad aims at one of the issues that has proved most successful for Bush in reaching critical swing voters--education. The ad mirrors Bush's latest focuson the campaign trail, where he spoke about education Monday and issued a 16-page pamphlet called "Ending the Education Recession." It also reflects a new tackfor the GOP, softening its attack on Gore.

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

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