Kerry Voices Healthcare Stance

NEW YORK Democratic presidential contender John Kerry joins the debate on healthcare in a new ad breaking on Wednesday in Iowa. Kerry discusses his bout with prostate cancer in a spot that comes a day after one of his rivals for the nomination, Richard Gephardt, broke a commercial focused on his son’s cancer battle.

In the 30-second spot called “Cured Now”, Kerry faces the camera and says, “A few months ago I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I’m cured now, but I was lucky. As a United States Senator, I could get the best healthcare in the world. Most people aren’t so lucky and we need to change that. That’s why my plan gives every American access to the same healthcare that Congress gives itself. I’m John Kerry and I approved this message because your family’s healthcare is just as important as any politician’s in Washington.”

The spot is from Riverfront Media, a unit of GMMB & SDD Agencies.

Gephardt yesterday launched a 30-second spot dealing with health insurance. The effort is dubbed “Matt,” after Gephardt’s son [Adweek Online, Nov. 25].

The commercial connects the ordeal of Matt being diagnosed with terminal cancer as a toddler, 31 years ago, to the candidate’s dramatic closing pledge to “get rid of the president’s tax cuts to guarantee health insurance for every American.” Gephardt proposes universal healthcare on his Web site, calling it “Matt’s Plan.”

Gephardt softly narrates the ad from his living room as still shots of Gephardt and his 2-year-old appear. Gephardt talks about how Matt’s life was saved by an experimental cancer treatment made possible by health insurance. “But in the hospital,” Gephardt says, “we met a lot of parents who didn’t have insurance. I’ll never forget the terror in their eyes.” The tagline, “It’s time we did what’s right,” appears at the end.

The spot was produced by Gephardt’s longtime advertising associate, Bill Carrick of Morris & Carrick, Los Angeles, and directed by Ross McCanse, who has made all of Gephardt’s ads.

“With so much notoriety given to negative ads, we see more movement by positive ads,” said Carrick. “As people talk about plans, proposals and ideas, they seem to have more impact. We’d prefer to be making the case for his bold ideas that really matter to people.”

This story updates an item posted on Nov. 25 to include Kerry’s latest ad.