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Bush-Cheney: Kerry record on defenseis 'troubling'

/ Source: The Associated Press

TITLE: “Weapons.”

LENGTH: 30 seconds.

PRODUCER: Maverick Media.

AIRING: Nationally on cable networks and in selected local media markets. Nine other versions of the ad will run in nine states.


Bush: “I’m George W. Bush and I approve this message.”

Announcer: “As our troops defend America in the war on terror, they must have what it takes to win. Yet, John Kerry has repeatedly opposed weapons vital to winning the war on terror: Bradley Fighting Vehicles, Patriot Missiles, B-2 Stealth Bombers, F-18 Fighter Jets and more. Kerry even voted against body armor for our troops on the front line of the war on terror. John Kerry’s record on national security: Troubling.”

KEY IMAGES: The spot opens with soldiers running along a desert landscape. Their movements slow as the narrator says that Kerry has opposed weapons vital to winning the war on terror. The scene fades into a battlefield vista with a tank rolling into battle, a Patriot missile at launch, and a Stealth bomber and a jet fighter in flight. They disappear one by one after the narrator says Kerry has opposed their funding. The scene pans to the right to show a young GI turning to face the camera as the narrator says Kerry voted against providing body armor for troops. On the sound track, a bell tolls.

ANALYSIS, by Liz Sidoti, Associated Press writer: In its ongoing effort to depict Kerry as weak on defense, Bush’s campaign scours the decorated Vietnam veteran’s Senate record and, this time, uses it to accuse him of voting against military weapons.

The ad is running nationally on cable networks, and versions also are tailored to specific states and are airing in selected media markets. For example, one version running in Maine emphasizes Kerry votes related to the Navy’s Aegis cruisers, which are built in that state. The goal is to appeal to voters dependent on jobs those military weapons provide.

The ads are based on several Kerry votes from the 1980s and 1990s, and don’t necessarily reflect his current position.

Kerry’s campaign said the Democrat has supported at least $8.5 billion for Bradley Fighting Vehicles, $16.7 billion for the B-2 Stealth Bombers, at least $60 billion for F/A-18 Fighter Jets and F-18 Fighter Jets, and at least $10 billion for Patriot Missiles.

Chad Clanton, a Kerry spokesman, said: “Not only are these attacks false, (Vice President Dick) Cheney himself tried to cut many of the same weapons systems that the Bush campaign is now attacking John Kerry on.”

The Kerry campaign, however, makes that claim based on decisions Cheney made as secretary of defense more than a decade ago.

The ads also resurrect a Bush claim that Kerry voted against body armor. Kerry did vote against the $87 billion reconstruction program for Iraq and Afghanistan, which included money for body armor. But he did not cast a vote specifically against armor as the ad implies. At the same time as the $87 billion vote, nearly one-fourth of the 130,000 American troops in Iraq — there on Bush’s watch — were without the newest body armor several months into the war.