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THE RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE | AD WATCH

Bush on national security

September 29, 2004

A 30-second campaign advertisement for President Bush was launched Tuesday. The ad was aired on national cable channels and local broadcasts in Michigan and other competitive states.

Sponsor: President Bush/Republican National Committee

Script:

Narrator: "History's lesson: Strength builds peace. Weakness invites those who would do us harm. Unfortunately, after the first World Trade Center attack, John Kerry and congressional liberals tried to slash $6 billion from intelligence budgets. And tried to cut or eliminate over 40 weapons now fighting the war on terror. And refused to support our troops in combat with the latest weapons and body armor."

Bush: "I'm George W. Bush and I approve this message."

Images: The spot opens with an image of a clock. It then shows people in everyday situations: a businessman walking on a street, a woman pushing a jogging stroller, a man hailing a taxi, a child smiling, a woman opening a refrigerator, a family getting into a minivan. Throughout the ad, action speeds up and slows down. The clock appears at various points, its hands spinning. The screen goes dark, and then a picture of Bush appears.

Analysis: This spot asks voters to think about events that could jar their otherwise tranquil lives, as terrorists did on Sept. 11, 2001. It argues that Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts should not be trusted to guard the country against such attacks while history's clock is ticking. Bush, by implication, is depicted as trustworthy.

It is true that Kerry proposed cutting the intelligence budget by several billion dollars in 1994. But that amendment, defeated on a 75-20 Senate vote, was part of a larger effort on Capitol Hill to reduce the deficit and had the support of some Republicans. Kerry has supported most defense and intelligence bills in his 19-plus years in the chamber.

On weapons systems, Republicans cite a few defense bills Kerry opposed, mostly in the 1980s and early 1990s, which financed many weapons systems. But many Republicans also favored cutting defense at the end of the Cold War, including the administration of the first President Bush, an effort spearheaded by his Defense secretary, Dick Cheney, who is now the vice president.

On body armor, Republicans are referring to Kerry's vote in October 2003 against an $87-billion bill to fund military and relief operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Democrat says he supports the troops but opposes Bush's policies on Iraq; he voted for a Democratic alternative that would have funded the measure by rolling back tax cuts for the wealthy.

Compiled by Times staff writer Nick Anderson.

Los Angeles Times

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