Democrat John Kerry unveiled an ad Thursday claiming President Bush’s economic policies have moved U.S. jobs overseas and within hours, the Bush campaign said it would run a new commercial criticizing Kerry’s record on taxes.
Kerry’s ad, his first negative commercial of the general election, quotes the president’s own advisers as saying “moving American jobs to low-cost countries” is good for the economy and adds: “While jobs are leaving our country in record numbers, George Bush says sending jobs overseas ’makes sense’ for America.”
Kerry’s 30-second ad also details the presumptive Democratic nominee’s economic plan that he argues will create 10 million jobs. It will start airing Friday in 17 battleground states.
The Democrat’s campaign has been spending about $2 million a week to run TV ads on local broadcast stations and is expected to spend at least that amount to air the commercial. That’s still less than a third of what Bush is spending each week to run ads on broadcast stations, excluding cable and radio buys.
Scott Stanzel, a Bush spokesman, said the Republican’s ad will begin running this weekend on national cable networks and on local broadcast affiliates in 18 states.
Two independent Democratic-leaning groups — the Media Fund and the AFL-CIO — also announced new anti-Bush ads.
Kerry, a four-term Massachusetts senator, ran at least a dozen ads assailing Bush or his policies during the primary campaign. His first ad of the general election was a response to a Bush commercial that Kerry argued misinterpreted his tax plans.
The job-loss factor
The new commercial is meant to exploit one of Bush’s weaknesses — more than 2 million jobs lost on his watch — while highlighting Kerry’s recently released economic plan that focuses in part on keeping jobs in the United States.
Steve Schmidt, a Bush campaign spokesman, called Kerry’s ad “factually false and deeply cynical” because, he said, Kerry has been quoted as saying that his plan won’t stop outsourcing and won’t create jobs.
Going negative is more risky for Kerry, than Bush, because he’s not as well known as the Republican incumbent, and therefore, could give voters an initial negative impression. Bush’s campaign has been running ads meant to define Kerry as wrong on both the economy and national security.
While Bush never directly said that outsourcing jobs “makes sense,” that phrase is included in the 2004 economic report of the president, which was released in February and which Bush signed. In a section about offshore outsourcing, it says: “When a good or service is produced more cheaply abroad, it makes more sense to import it than make or provide it domestically.”
When the report was released, Bush’s chief economist also stirred controversy by suggesting that shipping U.S. service jobs overseas could be good for the economy. N. Gregory Mankiw, the current chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, later said his comments were misconstrued. Treasury Secretary John Snow drew criticism this week for similar comments in a newspaper interview.
The Media Fund ad, which will air in 17 states, questions Bush’s plan to spend $87 billion in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking, “Shouldn’t America be his top priority.” And, an AFL-CIO ad running in 11 states assails Bush on jobs, juxtaposing statements he made in his State of the Union address with comments from Americans who say the president’s efforts haven’t helped them.