Back To School For Bush

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The CBS News Political Unit is tracking the latest campaign commercials. Jane Ruvelson analyzes George W. Bush's largest media buy to date, featuring an ad to appear in 21 swing states.

The Ad: George Bush launched a new ad Monday focusing on his education agenda. The spot, appropriately titled Education Agenda, will run with an updated version of an education commercial released a month ago, Hard Things. In what is the Bush campaign’s largest media buy to date, the spots will air in 21 states: Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia, and, Wisconsin. Airing of Education Agenda and Hard Things will coincide with Bush and Cheney campaign events in 19 of the states between now and Labor Day.

Audio: Bush: "Seven of 10 fourth graders in our highest poverty schools cannot read a simple children's book. Millions are trapped in schools where violence is common and learning is rare."
Announcer: "The Bush Education Agenda: Reform Head Start, Focus on Reading, Restore Local Control, Triple Funding for Character Education, Hold Schools Accountable for Results."
Bush: "Now is the time to teach all our children to read and renew the promise of America's public schools."

Visual: In Education Agenda, footage from Bush’s convention address is coupled with scenes of kids at school.

Fact Check: No inaccuracies.

The Strategy: As Gore luxuriates in the warmth of his post-convention bounce, Bush is wasting no time in beginning his general election drills. With an eye on 21 swing states, 16 of which were carried by Clinton in 1996, the Bush campaign is using Education Agenda to put a positive Republican face on the historically-Democratic issue of education.

By highlighting the poverty and violence that still exists in schools, Bush takes an implicit swipe at the Clinton-Gore administration’s efforts to curb these problems. The Gore campaign was quick to respond to Education Agenda with statistics evidencing the Administration’s achievements in reducing youth illiteracy and school violence.