August 2, 2000
How will the war of words affect votes in key swing states? Media correspondent Terence Smith begins with background on campaign advertising, then Margaret Warner leads a discussion with GOP analysts.
The NewsHour Media Unit is funded by a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts.
With George Bush and Dick Cheney at the helm, you can count on America.
DELEGATE: Viva Bush!
COLIN POWELL: We can't leave any child behind.
TERENCE SMITH: The Republicans are all singing from the same hymn book this week. It is a carefully choreographed effort to remain upbeat and on message. But the Democrats are doing their best rain on the Republican's positive parade.
SPOKESPERSON: I mean, I stand here proudly to contrast the record of Al Gore with that of George Bush and his running mate Dick Cheney.
TERENCE SMITH: There is no cease-fire during this week of Republican celebration. The Democrats have been ferrying their 27-member truth squad and journalists to and from the convention hall aboard a bus they have christened the Rolling Donkey. Seven Democratic Web sites are devoted to parsing the Bush record. And the Democratic National Committee has spent $3.5 million to run three ads in 17 battleground states. The commercials also got free media coverage when broadcast replayed them in news pieces.
DNC AD: Houston is now the smog capital of the U.S. Get the facts.
DNC AD: Tonight in Philadelphia, you'll hear a lot about the leave nothing child behind. Meanwhile, back in Texas, George W. Bush opposed health coverage for 200,000 more children.
|Ads during a convention week|
| TERENCE SMITH: Citing what they described as an unwritten rule against
attack ads during the opposing party's convention week, Republicans are
crying foul. Media consultant Alex Castilanos worked on Republican Presidential
ads since 1988.
ALEX CASTELLANOS, GOP Media Consultant: Al Gore is trying to sling mud at the front door just as you show up for the first date. I think it shows something about their campaign and our campaign.
TERENCE SMITH: But Democratic officials challenged the existence of any such rule and argued that it was, in any event, violated by this ad that the Republicans ran during the 1996 Democratic Convention.
1996 RNC AD: Bill Clinton said he'd lead the war on drugs and change America. All he did was change his mind.
TERENCE SMITH: National DNC Chair Joe Andrew says there's no cease- fire on holding the opposition accountable.
JOE ANDREW, National Chair, DNC: There are a series of ads to make sure that the people know that the show that is going on at this convention is nearly an illusion.
TERENCE SMITH: But Kathleen Hall Jamison, dean of the Annenberg School for Communication, is skeptical about the effectiveness of the ads.
KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON, Dean, Annenberg, School for Communication: The question is, will this advertising be viewed as the skunk at the party since the Republicans are running a very positive promotion for Bush at the convention -
TERENCE SMITH: Meanwhile, George W. Bush has taken on the Democrats.
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: They don't want four more years of Clinton/Gore. They want somebody to appeal to our better angels, not our darker impulses.
TERENCE SMITH: Ever since he arrived in Philadelphia, the conservative voting record of Dick Cheney provided a fresh target for Democratic ads.
DNC AD: George W. Bush chose Dick Cheney to help lead the Republican Party. What does Cheney's record say about their plans? Cheney was one of the members of Congress to oppose the Clean Water Act -- one of the few to vote against Head Start.
TERENCE SMITH: Even President Clinton joined the chorus of criticism.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: All the big publicity is about in the last few days, amazing vote cast by their nominee for Vice President when he was in congress against letting Nelson Mandela out of jail. And that takes your breath away. But Mr. Mandela got out of jail in spite of that congressional vote.
TERENCE SMITH: The Democratic assault has forced Cheney to spend valuable television time defending his record.
DICK CHENEY: You can't go through and look at every single vote, and I'm perfectly happy to defend my record.
TERENCE SMITH: In the spirit of campaign tit for tat, Republican ad makers reportedly are preparing their own attack ads against the Democrats for use when the party convenes its convention in Los Angeles the week after next.
The NewsHour Media Unit, including this site, is funded by grants from: