TITLE: "21st Century"
LENGTH: 30 seconds.
PRODUCER: Maverick Media.
AIRING: 18 battleground states.
Bush: "We are in changing times and the economy is changing. We need new small-business owners. And that's why the policies I've put forth help small businesses. We've got tax cuts in place that'll help the economy grow. But we've also got plans to help people get the skills necessary to fill the new jobs of the 21st century. I'm optimistic about America because I believe in the people of America. I'm George W. Bush, and I approve of this message."
KEY IMAGES: It opens with the sun shining brightly through the window of a restaurant filled with patrons, then shows Bush speaking to the camera. He is seated and casually dressed, with his wife, Laura, by his side. The ad cuts to the image of a shop owner turning a window sign from closed to open. There are images of metal workers in a factory, office workers at their desks and two women arranging flowers in a flower shop as Bush outlines his policies to help small businesses. The camera cuts back to the president and Laura Bush, then closes with Bush in a suit striding purposefully outside the White House.
ANALYSIS, by Sam Hananel, Associated Press Writer: The ad, a defense of Bush's efforts to jump-start the economy, shows the president is not willing to cede that issue to Kerry, especially amid signs that the economy is improving. A recent AP poll showed that the economy is the most important issue to voters, and 53 percent of all voters believe Kerry is best suited to create jobs.
The opening shot of bright sunlight is reminiscent of Ronald Reagan's "Morning in America" ads in 1984, which tried to capture a feeling of American optimism. Bush is shown relaxed, comfortable that his plans to rev the economy are working. The president claims his tax cuts have relieved the burden on small businesses and middle-class taxpayers while homeownership has risen to record levels and the stock market has shown strong recovery.
But more than 2.2 million jobs have been lost since Bush took office, in contrast to the millions of jobs created in the 1990s under Bill Clinton. Democrats also charge that Bush cut the largest loan program in the Small Business Administration.