|THE 2000 AD WATCH: REPUBLICANS|
December 15, 1999
The airwaves are getting filled with presidential primary ads in key states which so far are mostly positive. Following this background report, media correspondent Terence Smith talks with communications professionals about the candidates' advertising.
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TERENCE SMITH: The airwaves are growing dense these days in the early primary states with images of Republicans running for the White House.
AD SPOKESMAN: A husband of 28 years and the father of five daughters
TERENCE SMITH: This year, millionaire publisher Steve Forbes has opted for a kinder, gentler approach than he tried against the Republican front-runner four years ago.
ANNOUNCER: Bob Dole: A Washington politician. It's time for a change.
TERENCE SMITH: That ad and others like it damaged Bob Dole's image in the 1996 Republican primaries, but in the end did nothing to help Steve Forbes. The Forbes campaign 2000 is offering a more benign version of the candidate in patriotic trappings.
AD ANNOUNCER: He's been called a champion of economic growth and a visionary. He is Steve Forbes.
TERENCE SMITH: The Forbes ads are running in Iowa, New Hampshire and on four national cable channels.
|Running positive campaigns|
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: I'm going to run a campaign that is hopeful and optimistic and very positive.
TERENCE SMITH: Texas Governor George W. Bush is offering a similarly positive message in his advertising blitz. His ads began running in October and haven't stopped. This week they're airing in Iowa, New Hampshire, Delaware, South Carolina and Arizona, the home state of competitor John McCain.
AD ANNOUNCER: He's been hailed as the Republican Party's best hope
to win the White House. As governor, he signed the two largest tax cuts
in Texas history.
TERENCE SMITH: This is the closest viewers may come to the traditional biographical ad that normally opens a presidential campaign. There's no real need for one in Bush's case, says his image maker Mark McKinnon, because of the governor's name recognition, or, as he put it in ad-talk, the family brand.
AD ANNOUNCER: He was a young Navy pilot who volunteered
TERENCE SMITH: Senator John McCain's personal story is central to his campaign and his advertising strategy. His 60-second biography, dating back to when he was shot down in Vietnam, is running in South Carolina as well as in New Hampshire, where he is overtaking Bush in some polls.
AD ANNOUNCER: He returned home, spirit unbroken, again devoting himself to his country. Navy officer, congressman, senator, taking on the establishment, and defying special interests, and never forgetting those heroes with whom he served. Today, John McCain is ready to lead America into the new century. His mission: to fundamentally reform government. More experience and more courage than anyone, ready to be president and leader of the free world.
SEN. JOHN McCAIN: I swear to you
|Running as anti-politicians|
TERENCE SMITH: Notice the anti-establishment rhetoric? McCain is also running an ad warning his colleagues in Congress that he won't tolerate those who funnel money to projects of special interests.
SEN. JOHN McCAIN: I will refuse to sign any pork-barrel bill that crosses my desk, and if Congress overrides my veto and tries to force me to waste your money, I'll make sure you know who they are, every single one of them.
TERENCE SMITH: Forbes, too, is running as an anti-politician. When the conservative Manchester, N.H., Union Leader endorsed him, he seized the moment in this quick turnaround ad.
AD ANNOUNCER: The Union Leader made Steve Forbes their choice in the GOP primary stating that he is head and shoulders above the others.
TERENCE SMITH: In a recent ad featuring pictures of children that Bush collects on the campaign trail, the governor's target is not his GOP opposition, but the present occupant of the Oval Office.
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: I believe it's important for America to have confidence in their leadership. I think it's really important for moms and dads to be able to point to the White House and say, "That person has brought honor and dignity to the office."
TERENCE SMITH: The three other Republican contenders -- Gary Bauer, Orrin Hatch and Alan Keyes -- have been less visible in the air wars. But Gary Bauer recently resumed running an ad in Iowa that stresses his opposition to abortion.
GARY BAUER: For 20 years I've fought to extend to unborn children the most basic of human rights. I won't stop until every one of God's children is welcomed into the world and protected by the law.
TERENCE SMITH: Neither Orrin Hatch nor Alan Keyes is running television commercials at this point in the campaign.
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