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For Gore, Desperate Times Call for Desperate Ads
By Mario H. Lopez
mlopez@politicalusa.com


11/3/2000
PoliticalUSA.com
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With less than one week to go until the nation elects a new president, the desperation on the part of Al Gore’s camp is leading to some distasteful and offensive ad tactics.  Of course Gore supporters have their own complaints about a recent pro-Republican ad, which has received more free airplay on the networks than it ever did on paid slots.

The pro-Republican ad is the work of a previously unknown entity calling itself “Aretino Industries.”  It mirrors the famous “Daisy” ad that Lyndon Johnson’s campaign ran in 1964.  The original ad features a little girl plucking a flower.  Her image fades into an atomic bomb exploding, and is meant to suggest that Barry Goldwater, Johnson’s Republican opponent, would act recklessly with his finger on the nuclear trigger.

The pro-GOP ad, as the original, was exaggerated and unnecessary, to be sure, but Gore’s attacks range from viciously unfair to what can only be called libel.  And the difference in the two sides’ reactions to the respective ads reveals much about the current state of the two campaigns, and ultimately, the character of the men seeking our vote.

The images in the two “Daisy” ads are similar, but the new ad’s narrator talks about the Clinton/Gore administration giving nuclear technology to China’s communist government in exchange for campaign contributions, for which the Clinton/Gore administration has been under investigation. So far, only four stations have actually run the “Daisy II” ad at a cost of about a thousand dollars to Aretino Industries.  Still, the ad was featured prominently on every news show and network.

Meanwhile, thanks to a $10 million dollar anonymous donation, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is running an ad featuring James Byrd’s daughter.  Byrd was the black man who was dragged to death from a pick-up truck by racists in Jasper, Texas.  His daughter, Renee Mullins talks about George W. Bush’s “opposition” to hate crimes legislation.  "It was like my father was killed all over again,” she says. 

Not only is associating a Governor with the crimes of individuals who live in the state he governs irrational, in this case it’s downright slanderous and repulsive.  The NAACP should be ashamed of itself for running that ad, when a Texas court has already sentenced two of the men involved in that brutal crime to death, and the third to a life-sentence.  Substantively, it’s just not clear what additional punishments the NAACP and Ms. Mullins would have the state of Texas inflict on criminals like those who murdered her father.

And in the critical state of Michigan, the Democratic National Committee is using automated phone systems to play a tape for thousands of voters that seek to blame Governor Bush for yet another death. "My husband passed away nearly four years ago from an illness that his nursing home attendants failed to notice,” a woman says.  “He could be alive today if it weren't for the neglect he experienced."  The woman seeks to blame Bush himself for a Texas bill that partially deregulated nursing homes, as if not signing the legislation would have somehow made the nursing home attendants more attentive to her husband.

Gore has substantially more influence over which ads are run on his behalf than Bush in these cases.  One ad is being run by Gore’s own party and the other by the NAACP, which has become, in essence, an arm of the Democratic Party.  Even Senator Bob Kerrey, a Democrat, called the ad "offensive, divisive and counterproductive."   The Gore campaign has refused to pull the ads, and insists that blaming Governor Bush for these two deaths is fair and accurate.

For their part, the Bush camp made moves to address the “Daisy II” ad.  Bush spokeswoman Karen Hughes’ statement to reporters: "Governor Bush condemns those types of anonymous attack ads.  Our campaign has called this morning -- our campaign political strategist, Karl Rove, has called the individual who was quoted in the newspaper about that ad and urged that group, whoever they are, to pull down that ad."

The two situations are hardly equivalent, though.  The DNC and NAACP anti-Bush ads are far more ruthless and prominent than the “Daisy II” ad.  Gore could easily make a phone call to the party he now controls or the NAACP and request an end to the ads and taped phone messages.

Chances are voters in swing “battleground” states have yet to see the end of these desperate ad tactics from Gore and his supporters.  His whole life, Gore has toiled to achieve the most powerful office in the world.  He has gone through numerous reinventions, taken credit for too many achievements he wasn’t part of, mouthed too many falsehoods, and traveled too far to stop now.

Ever since Gore was caught in one of what he euphemistically calls “exaggerations” in the first debate, Bush supporters have been fond of pointing out that when Gore is under pressure, he simply makes things up.  That alone is a character flaw that should influence your decision to vote.  But Gore’s current inability to deal with his fading presidential aspirations is proof of his inability to lead our nation for the next four years.

© Mario H. Lopez, 2000

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View expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Political USA.


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