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THE RACE TO THE WHITE HOUSE

Ad Watch

June 06, 2004

This 30-second television advertisement, titled "Pessimism," is scheduled to begin airing nationwide Monday on cable outlets such as CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC.

Sponsor: President Bush

Script: Bush: "I'm George W. Bush and I approve this message. I'm optimistic about America because I believe in the people of America."

Narrator: "After recession, 9/11 and war, now our economy has been growing for 10 straight months. The largest tax relief in history. 1.4 million jobs added since August. Inflation, interest and mortgage rates low. Record homeownership. John Kerry's response? He's talking about the Great Depression. One thing's sure. Pessimism never created a job."

Images: Bush is shown speaking in front of an American flag. Mt. Rushmore appears in the background. Then Bush is shown sitting with his wife, Laura, a scene shown in an earlier commercial for him. The screen shifts to scenes of a busy sidewalk, a shoe store, men wearing hard hats, a diner opening in the morning, a smiling man talking on the telephone at his desk, a construction site and a family walking up to the front door of a home. The final shot is of Sen. John F. Kerry, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, giving a speech.

Analysis: The ad capitalizes on job growth figures the government announced Friday. It seeks to depict Bush as a confident steward of economic recovery and reminds viewers of the president's tax cuts in 2001, 2002 and 2003. The effect of the Bush tax policy is a matter of debate. Democrats say the cuts gave far more to the wealthy than to the middle and lower classes and have led to dangerously steep budget deficits. Republicans credit the tax cuts for sparking the current job growth. It is true that Kerry has cited the Great Depression of the 1930s as a benchmark for judging Bush's job-creation record; a Kerry aide did so again Friday.

The Kerry campaign and other Democrats stress that since Bush took office, the number of total payroll jobs has declined by about 1.2 million.

No president since the first years of the Depression has presided over a net job loss during a term in office. But if hiring continues at its recent pace, the job deficit under Bush would be erased by the November election.

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Source: Nick Anderson, Times staff writer

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