|THE 2000 AD WATCH: DEMOCRATS|
December 7, 1999
The NewsHour Media Unit is funded by a grant from
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|TERENCE SMITH: Campaign 2000 is well underway, at fund-raisers, on the campaign trail, and over the air waves. Democratic candidates Vice President Al Gore and former Senator Bill Bradley are spending at least $600,000 between them this week on campaign advertisements in the early battleground states of Iowa and New Hampshire. So far, the air war on the democratic side has been a gentlemanly exercise, with most of the introductory ads focused on the candidates themselves.|
|A gentlemanly exercise|
AL GORE: How you doing?
TERENCE SMITH: Al Gore's biographical ads began running in October, more than a year before election day.
AD SPOKESMAN: (Gore Campaign) He saw his father defeated for the senate because of civil rights and gun control, came home from Vietnam doubting politics could make a difference. He started a family, and worked as a reporter exposing corruption. Al Gore had seen what could go wrong in America and decided to fight back. His cause is working families, affordable prescription drugs, improved healthcare for every American, a cleaner environment, education reform to make our test scores the highest in the world. Al Gore: Fighting for us.
TERENCE SMITH: What's missing from that picture? Gore's gilded upbringing in a luxury Washington hotel and his education at elite eastern schools. On November 17, the campaign to elect Bill Bradley introduced their man during the New Hampshire local news. They dubbed the former New York Knicks basketball star and New Jersey Senator, the man from Crystal City.
AD SPOKESMAN: (Bradley Campaign) Bill Bradley was born in Crystal City, Missouri. He was a basketball hero, an Olympic Gold Medallist, a Rhodes Scholar and a U.S. Senator from New Jersey for 18 years.
SEN. DANIEL PATRICK MOYNIHAN: The 1986 tax reform act, the first major reform of the 20th century, didn't just happen. Bill made it happen.
SEN. BOB KERREY: When the verdict was handed down on the Rodney King case, senator Bradley took two pencils and tapped them slowly 56 times to represent the 56 times that Rodney King was struck by the Los Angeles Police Department. The Senate was hushed as the sound of those pencils echoed through us.
WOMAN: When I was pregnant with my second child, Bill Bradley proposed a law that women be allowed to stay in the hospital for 48 hours. Thanks to senator Bradley my daughter is alive today. That's the type of man I want in the white house.
TERENCE SMITH: What's missing here? According to the Gore campaign, the ad exaggerates what Bradley's bill did for the woman and her family. Ms. Drumm conceded later that the bill did not save her life, but rather gave her the confidence to proceed with a third child. On his own behalf, Bradley contends on the stump that he offers candor rather than sound bites.
BILL BRADLEY: Sometimes you'll agree with me, sometimes you won't. But at least you'll know exactly where I stand.
TERENCE SMITH: Just as he did in his first run for the presidency in 1988, Gore this year stresses his support for arms control. His focus this time is the nuclear test ban treaty rejected by the Senate.
AL GORE: I ask for your support and your mandate, if elected president, to send this treaty back to the Senate with your demand that they ratify it.
TERENCE SMITH: So far, the only attack ads on the Democratic side have come from the Republicans. This series, broadcast during a Gore-Bradley joint appearance at a town meeting in October, stresses the familiar tax-and- spend theme.
FIRST MAN IN AD: And that concludes our debate.
AD SPOKESMAN: And... clear.
FIRST MAN IN AD: Yeah, debate. You call that a debate?
SECOND MAN IN AD: Tell me about it. All they talked about was how much money they want to spend on new government programs.
FIRST MAN IN AD: They are the tax-and-spend twins. Where do they think the money comes from? Billions for this, billions for that.
SECOND MAN IN AD: You're a rich guy. You can afford it.
FIRST MAN IN AD: My wife already works. Maybe I can get my son to kick in his allowance.
AD SPOKESMAN: Who spends more? That's the only debate between Bradley and Gore.
TERENCE SMITH: This week Gore began running a new ad that separates him from Senator Bradley on the issue of school vouchers. Gore stresses his opposition to vouchers for private schools, a proposal that Senator Bradley has at least been willing in the past to study.
AL GORE IN AD: Now is the time when we ought to be really beefing up our public schools --
TERENCE SMITH: The Gore ad seems to reinforce his standing with the powerful teachers unions will be helping him turn out voters in the coming months.
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