GORE II: DNC Airs Ad Touting Veep’s Medicare Rx Benefit
Vice President Al Gore takes his primary gloves off and throws his first punch in the general election with the help of a new Democratic National Committee (DNC) ad touting his proposed Medicare prescription drug benefit . The DNC ad will begin running today in 15 states, including Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Delaware, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin (National Journal Group, 6/8). Unveiling the ad campaign yesterday, DNC Chair Joe Andrew, accompanied by House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), described the spot as "party-building" despite the fact that the ad never mentions the Democratic Party. Instead, the ad focuses on Gore and the Web site www.1-877-leadnow.com, which touts "the Gore Plan" (Kurtz, Washington Post, 6/8). [Editor's Note: You must be a registered user of the Gore site to gain access]. Titled "Prescription Drugs," the ad focuses on Medicare beneficiary Bob Darthez, who is "at the mercy of the big drug companies" as he struggles each week to buy both groceries and prescription medications. In the ad, Gore says: "People can't afford these ridiculously high prices for prescription medicines. When their doctors prescribe medicine for their health and well-being, they ought to be able to take it" (National Journal Group, 6/8). To view the ad, go to http://video.cloakroom.com/2000archive/06/0607dnc1.rm in your Web browser. Note: You will need RealPlayer2 to view the ad.
Breaking A Promise?
The 30-second spot has already drawn the ire of Texas Gov. George W. Bush's (R) campaign. Noting that the ad was paid for with both hard and soft money from the states' Democratic parties, Bush spokesperson Ari Fleischer said that Gore was breaking his March 15 challenge to Republicans to eliminate soft-money ads. Fleischer said, "[Gore] promised not to run soft-money ads when he thought it would give him an advantage; now that he's losing in the polls, he's willing to break his commitment." In defense, the Gore campaign countered that the GOP has already rejected his soft-money challenge by running ads paid for by unidentified, Republican-leaning groups that bash the vice president (National Journal Group, 6/8). Another Bush adviser, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the ad will spur the Republican National Committee to action. The adviser said, "It's an opportunity for the RNC to begin their campaign. I am sure they will be engaging in short order" (Marks, New York Times, 6/8). U.S. News' Mort Zuckerman called the GOP's accusations "nonsense," adding, "they are both going to use soft money as much as they can. Neither of them has agreed to stop using soft money for these kind of ads. Al Gore, to his credit, at least proposed eliminating all these attack ads" ("Mitchell Report," MSNBC, 6/7).