DNC Opens Up Against Bush Over Mimimum Wage in Texas

The Democratic National Committee released this new 30-second commercial, titled “National Minimum,” on Friday and will air it in Arkansas, Delaware, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin.


Democratic Victory 2000, a consulting firm made up of principals from media consulting firms Squier Knapp Dunn and Shrum Devine Donilon, and consultant Carter Eskew.

The Script

Male announcer: “Before you look at George W. Bush’s plans, look at his record. When the national minimum wage was raised to $5.15 an hour, Bush kept the Texas minimum wage at $3.35. When Congress passed a law to help states provide health insurance for kids, Bush opposed its expansion to 220,000 children in Texas. And a federal judge had to step in, ruling Texas fails to provide adequate health care for children. George Bush: His real plans hurt real people.”

The Pictures

Spot opens with Bush speaking. Graphics show the statistics the announcer is citing. A doctor is shown treating a child. A gavel is shown signifying the judge’s ruling. The camera cuts to a little boy. Bush is shown over the ad’s “real people” tag line, a takeoff of Bush’s new campaign slogan.


Bush didn’t push to raise the state minimum wage, and the Texas Legislature failed to pass any bills to raise it. Aides say Bush backs increasing the federal minimum wage but only if states can opt out if they find it would hurt their economies. On children’s health, a Bush-appointed commission did initially propose to limit the number of families covered by the new Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to those making 150% of the poverty level or less, but Democrats in the state Legislature eventually won an effort to set the cutoff at 200%. Last month, a federal judge did find Texas had failed to improve children’s access to Medicaid, as it had agreed to do in a 1996 consent decree. But that ruling was not linked to the dispute over CHIP’s funding. Texas is appealing the ruling. The lawsuit leading to that consent decree was filed under the administration of Bush’s Democratic predecessor.



With this ad, the Democrats are seeking to hobble Bush as he goes toe-to-toe with Al Gore on health care issues. The ad revives some of the party’s earlier attacks on Bush’s health record, and introduces their first attack on the minimum wage issue, which is seen as an appeal to middle-class voters and women.