Bush Goes on the Attack

WASHINGTON, D.C. President Bush will launch two TV spots Thursday on national cable stations and local TV affiliates in 18 battleground states, the campaign said. His first radio ad is set to debut as well.

In a spot called “100 Days,” the Bush campaign outlines what it thinks Sen. John Kerry would do in his first 100 days in office. A voiceover says, “A president sets his agenda for America in the first 100 days. John Kerry’s plan: To pay for new government spending, raise taxes by at least $900 billion.” Regarding the war on terror, the announcer says Kerry would, “Weaken the Patriot Act used to arrest terrorists and protect America. And he wanted to delay defending America until the United Nations approved.” The spot ends with the slogan, “John Kerry: Wrong on taxes. Wrong on defense.” The spot has both 30- and 60-second versions.

In a second spot, called “Forward,” Bush talks about how voters have a choice in this election. “We can go forward with confidence, resolve and hope,” Bush says. “Or we can turn back to the dangerous illusion that terrorists are not plotting and outlaw regimes are not a threat. We can continue to work to create jobs, reform education and lower the cost of healthcare. Together, we’re moving America forward.”

The new TV ads will replace “Tested” and “Lead,” which were released last week. The “Safer, Stronger” spot, which featured footage of the Sept. 11 attacks and prompted criticism from victims of the tragedy, will remain on the air.

Mark McKinnon, Bush’s director of media and advertising, called the “100 Days” spot a “contrast” ad, rather than a “negative” message. “A contrast ad talks about somebody’s record and vision and compares that with our vision,” McKinnon said.” A negative ad goes beyond somebody’s record.”

The Bush campaign argues that a number of Kerry spots, which accuse Bush of “helping the polluters” or being “beholden to special issues,” are considered negative ads.

The Kerry campaign disagrees. “After losing nearly 3 million jobs, watching healthcare costs rise out of control, turning record surpluses into record deficits and breaking his own promises on everything from improving schools to making America secure, this president has now decided to launch a negative advertising campaign against me,” Kerry said in response to the new Bush ads. “What’s most interesting about this new ad is what’s not in it. This president can’t talk about his positive vision for America, because at each turn he has put this nation on the wrong track. It’s time he pays attention to that old saying, ‘When you’ve dug yourself into a ditch, stop digging.'”