Sunday, August 15, 2004

New Bush Television Ad: Kerry on Intelligence

Here you can find the Bush campaign's latest TV advertisement. This one attacks John Kerry on intelligence issues. I hate to be a party pooper, but this one did not knock my socks off. In fact, although I really wish I did not feel like saying this, the ad looks pretty much like a garden variety attack ad, the kind you'd see in your local congressional race.

In summary, the ad notes that Kerry missed 76% of the public Senate Intelligence Committee meetings that he should have attended as a committee member, that he attended none of the public meetings in the year after 9/11, and that he voted to cut $6 billion from the intelligence budget.


  • Why 76%? Why not round it to 75%, or even "three-quarters?" Saying 76% seems wonkish.
  • The word "public" is in the text on the screen, but is left out of the voice over. Kerry did not attend 76% of the public meetings of his committee. To me, this omission jumped out. I know most people may not view the ad quite so critically, but I wonder what the difference is between public and non-public meetings? Are the non-public meetings the really important ones, and is Kerry going to be able to come back and show that he attended those more important meetings and that this parsing of words is unfair?
  • As for budget cuts, no one understands the federal budget, so it's hard to know what to make of such claims. It seems everyone in Congress or the Senate has a mind-numbing explanation for his or her budget votes.
I apologize to my fellow Republicans, but I think GWB has a great story to tell, and he needs to tell it in his ads. this one doesn't much for me, I'm afraid. And if I, an ardent Bush booster and Republican, see these weaknesses, what must the Kerry campaign see? Or, for that matter, what will the news media see when they run their "truth checks" on all ads? It will be interesting to see what they say about this one.

On the other hand, Bush's people have access to polling and focus group information that I don't, so maybe they're just doing the right thing politically. I hope so.

UPDATE: See my post above linking the Washington Post's article about Bush's effective stump style. I knew he could do it!


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