RNC, MoveOn Spar Over Bush’s Policies

WASHINGTON, D.C. As the Democratic contenders continue to mount an advertising blitz criticizing President Bush, the Republican National Committee will launch its first spot Sunday depicting the president as a strong leader defending the nation against terrorism.

Meanwhile, the political advocacy group MoveOn.org Voter Fund has unveiled a $10 million campaign that includes a spot questioning George W. Bush’s economic plan. The ad will begin airing Nov. 22. Future ads in the series will attack Bush’s policy in Iraq.

Featuring images of Bush during his last State of the Union address, the 30-second RNC spot shows the president standing before Congress as the words “Strong and Principled Leadership” appears. In a direct response to Democratic critcism that Bush is leading a faulty military campaign in Iraq, the words “Some call for us to retreat, putting our national security in the hands of others” then appear. The spot calls on viewers to tell Congress “to support the president’s policy of pre-emptive self-defense.”

The RNC said it will spend $100,000 to air the spot in Iowa and New Hampshire. The ad will run in five Iowa markets for three days starting on Sunday. It will run again in about two weeks during the Democratic debate in New Hampshire.

“The purpose of this ad is to begin to point out the bright contrast and positive position on foreign policy between the Democratic presidential candidates and the Bush administration,” said RNC representative Christine Iverson. “And the debates are an excellent opportunity to do that.” Crawford Creative in Houston fashioned the spot.

Democratic contenders Howard Dean, John Kerry and Wesley Clark have all run ads directly or indirectly attacking Bush’s war policy in Iraq [Adweek Online, Nov. 18].

MoveOn.org will spend $175,000 to broadcast its 30-second spot done by Los Angeles political consultants Zimmerman & Markman, which will first air in Washington on Saturday on CNN, Fox, MSNBC and CNBC. The spot will then break in other swing states, such as Pennsylvania, Oregon and Missouri starting next Wednesday.

The spot opens with images of past presidents going back to Herbert Hoover. An announcer says, “George Bush is doing something Bill Clinton didn’t do…his father didn’t do…not Reagan, or Carter, or Ford, or Nixon…Not LBJ, or JFK. Not Eisenhower, or Harry Truman. Not in any of FDR’s four terms. No. George Bush is going to be the first president since Herbert Hoover to lead an economy that loses jobs.”

As Hoover’s picture changes into Bush, the words “Over 2 million jobs lost,” appears. Then the announcer says, “Didn’t George Bush say his tax cut would create jobs?”

Zack Exley, MoveOn.org’s organizing director, said the spot is the first in a series that will run through the primaries until March. The campaign’s purpose, Exley said, is to educate voters on Bush’s record on the economy and Iraq. “We feel this is an important time to begin communicating with voters,” Exley said.

The Hoover spot is the first money MoveOn.org will spend on the campaign after philanthropists George Soros and Peter Lewis pledged to give the group $2 for every dollar the group raises up to $5 million.