AD TITLE: "Wacky."
LENGTH: 30 seconds.
PRODUCER: Maverick Media
AIRING: Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin. Nationally on cable networks.
Bush: "I'm George W. Bush and I approve this message."
Announcer: "Some people have wacky ideas. Like taxing gasoline more so people drive less. That's John Kerry. He supported a 50-cent-a-gallon gas tax. If Kerry's tax increase were law, the average family would pay $657 more a year. Raising taxes is a habit of Kerry's. He supported higher gasoline taxes 11 times. Maybe John Kerry just doesn't understand what his ideas mean to the rest of us."
KEY IMAGES: Bush is shown walking at the White House. The ad shifts to the style of a silent movie. The first frame shows 1920s-vintage cars driving in circles around a police officer at a town intersection. A man in a sailor hat appears before the screen quickly cuts to the rising price on an old-fashioned gas pump, and several men riding a multi-person bicycle.
Grainy, black-and-white footage of Kerry talking fades to a man in a chauffeur style hat grabbing a gas nozzle and filling up a vehicle. Another man, in a bowler hat and a droopy suit walks down a dirt road, puts his hands in his pockets and turns them inside-out, showing he has no money.
The screen says, "Kerry's Plan: Pay $657 More a Year for Gas." A three-paneled screen shows Kerry talking, the ticker on an old-fashioned gas pump rising and a woman putting her hand to her mouth apparently in surprise at the rising gas prices. The ad ends with a man pushing an antique car, and the phrase, "John Kerry: Wrong on Taxes."
ANALYSIS, by Liz Sidoti, Associated Press writer : The ad is reminiscent of bumbling Keystone kops of the black-and-white silent movie era. However, the goal is the same as most previous ads: portray Kerry as a tax-raising Democrat. This time, the issue is gas taxes.
Gas prices have spiked to record levels on Bush's watch. His ad comes as Kerry intensifies his criticism that the Republican's economic policies are to blame for high gas prices. The ad was unveiled the same day Kerry offered his proposal for curbing the rising cost of gas.
The commercial is based almost entirely on votes Kerry cast and comments he made in the context of President Clinton's economic stimulus package. The ad says Kerry "supported higher gasoline taxes 11 times," suggesting that Kerry cast that many votes, specifically on the gas-tax issue. That's not exactly the case. Some of the votes the Bush campaign cited were procedural Senate votes, others were overall votes on larger bills.
For example, Kerry did vote for the overall budget bill of 1993, a large spending plan that included, among thousands of items, Clinton's 4.3-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase meant to help reduce the deficit.
However, in 1996, Kerry did oppose several attempts to repeal the 4.3-cent-per-gallon increase. His campaign says he feared it could lead to 50,000 jobs lost. And, four years later, Kerry opposed a bill that would have suspended the federal gas tax of 18.4 cents a gallon for 150 days, a position the campaign says Kerry took because the bill didn't ensure that oil companies would roll back prices.
The ad also resurrects a 1994 Kerry quote in the Boston Globe in which he expressed his "support for a 50-cent increase in the gas tax." Kerry was referring to a proposal by democratic Sen. Chuck Robb to substitute a dime-a-year increase in the 14.1-cent-a-gallon gasoline tax over five years as Congress looked for ways to cut the deficit. Kerry never voted for the measure, which was spearheaded by Robb. Yet, Bush's ad suggests that the proposal was Kerry's, and it calculates how much it would cost an average family each year based on "Kerry's tax increase" of 50-cents-a-gallon.