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Bush Takes Aim at Kerry in New Spot

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WASHINGTON, D.C. Taking advantage of new growth in the economy, President George W. Bush's campaign on Friday released a new ad that touts an increase of 1.4 million jobs since August.

The 30-second spot, called "Pessimism," also attacks Sen. John Kerry for comparing America's economy to the Depression. The ad discusses Bush's tax relief, low inflation and interest rates and record homeownership. An announcer says, "John Kerry's response? He's talking about the Great Depression. One thing's sure ... Pessimism never created a job."

The spot will air on national cable starting Monday.

Kerry campaign representative Stephanie Cutter responded to the new Bush ad by saying, "This ad just demonstrates how out of touch George Bush really is. John Kerry has a plan to solve the problems that George Bush can't even see. Bush thinks it's good news that middle class families are making $1,500 less than they were four years ago, are being crushed by escalating healthcare costs and are struggling to send their kids to college."

Kerry also released a new 30-second spot that will air in 19 states, and is part of an $18 million ad buy for the month of June. In the spot, called "Optimists," an announcer says, "For John Kerry, a stronger America begins at home. Real plans to create jobs here, not overseas; lower healthcare costs; independence from Middle East oil. And in the world, a strong military and strong alliances—to defeat terror."

The spot was created by Kerry's lead agency, Shrum, Devine & Donilon, and a new political consultancy that the campaign hired, Squier, Knapp & Dunn, which worked on former President Bill Clinton's campaign. Squier, Knapp & Dunn replaces Omnicom Group's GMMB, which left the Kerry campaign after the primaries over a fee dispute. GMMB continues to buy media for the campaign.

Kerry's 60-second biographical spot, which launched last month, also begins airing in Virginia.

Kerry has stepped up his plan to bring his advertising to traditional Republican strongholds where he thinks Bush might be vulnerable. After advertising in Colorado and Louisiana, Kerry has turned his eye to the South [Adweek, May 31].