CAMPAIGN ADS: Bush, Gore Ads Target Health Care
As Election Day draws nearer, ads for presidential candidates Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore have focused primarily on prescription drug costs and HMOs and the "aerial warfare is certain to intensify" over the next few weeks, the Washington Post reports. When Gore is not "bashing" HMOs, his ads "are depicting [Texas] as a public health and environmental wasteland." But Bush's ads "paint" Gore as the "candidate of big government," a depiction epitomized in the allegedly subliminal "rats" ad. In that spot, the Bush campaign asserts: "The Gore prescription plan: Bureaucrats decide. The Bush prescription plan: Seniors choose." Bush's top strategist Karl Rove said of the campaign's decision to focus on prescription drugs: "You take the other guy's strong point, attack it, blow it up and he has no strength left. This is not an issue we need to win. This is an issue where we have to close the 30-point gap that Republicans characteristically have had on health care issues." Gore's media adviser Bob Shrum said, "Clearly, this is a very important front-burner issue that Al Gore has led on and the Republicans in Congress have resisted moving on. It's powerful as an issue in itself, and it's powerful as a metaphor about who you're fighting for and who you're willing to take on to make life better for seniors and their families." And even though Bush has criticized Gore's health proposals, "such exchanges are taking place on the vice president's turf," the Post reports. Shanto Iyengar, a Stanford University professor who has compiled the presidential campaign ads onto a CD, which is available for free at http://store.yahoo.com/campaign, said, "You often use your own ads to draw your opponent into a debate on which he is doomed to lose. That's a winning tactic for Gore, and it may have been a strategic blunder on the Republican side to even bother to respond." Darrell West, a Brown University professor and author of Air Wars, added, "If the election comes down to a referendum on health care, Gore wins. Bush has to counterbalance his weakness on prescription drugs with his real strength on education" (Kurtz, Washington Post, 10/8). Video of some of Gore's television ads are available at his official campaign Web site at http://www.algore.com/video/tv_ads.html. Bush's ads can be viewed at his campaign site by going to http://www.georgewbush.com, selecting "multimedia" and then "GWB TV."This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.