This 30-second television advertisement, unveiled Thursday, is expected to go on the air today on local broadcast stations in several states contested by both major parties. Among them is North Carolina. It is the first time President Bush has targeted the home state of expected Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. John Edwards.
Bush: “I’m George W. Bush and I approve this message.”
Female voice: “Leadership means choosing priorities. While campaigning, John Kerry has missed over two-thirds of all votes. Missed a vote to lower healthcare costs by reducing frivolous lawsuits against doctors. Missed a vote to fund our troops in combat. Yet Kerry found time to vote against the Laci Peterson law that protects pregnant women from violence. Kerry has his priorities. Are they yours?”
Images: The spot opens with images of Bush campaigning and shifts to a white background with words. A multitude of pictures of Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry then fills the screen. The Capitol is shown. Then a picture of Kerry is juxtaposed with pictures of an elderly woman, soldiers in combat gear and young women.
Analysis: Bush resumes sharp attacks on his challenger with a portrayal of the Massachusetts senator as a delinquent lawmaker with a questionable voting record. The Kerry campaign does not dispute Republican calculations that he has missed about 70% of the Senate’s roll call votes since January 2003. The roll calls Bush cites are a selective sample meant to put Kerry’s record in the worst possible light. On healthcare, Republicans pushed a bill to limit medical malpractice liability that had little chance of passing the Senate. Kerry’s absence did not affect the outcome, and he has proposed his own plans to cut healthcare costs. Likewise, Kerry’s absence was not decisive in the outcome of a measure to provide funding for troops. Though he has criticized certain weapons programs at times in his career, the Democrat has backed most military spending bills during his 19-plus years in the Senate. Kerry did vote against a law named for Peterson, a pregnant woman from Modesto whose husband has been charged with murder in the death of her and their unborn child. The legislation, which Bush signed in April, makes it a separate crime to harm or kill a fetus during an assault on a pregnant woman. Kerry and many other Democrats opposed it because of provisions they believed would undermine abortion rights. The Kerry campaign says the senator supported a tougher alternative to crack down on such crimes. Regardless of partisan interpretations, it is a stretch for Bush to imply this particular vote was a Kerry priority.
Compiled by Times staff writer Nick Anderson