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Dubya Sets The Stage

The CBS News Political Unit is tracking the latest campaign commercials. Jane Ruvelson analyzes three new Bush ads outlining his priorities on the eve of the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.



The Ads:
Late last week, the Bush campaign rolled out with three new ads, all to run until the start of the Republican National Convention, if not longer. Airtime for the spots has been purchased in the battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Washington for an estimated $3 million. These supplement $12 million of Republican National Committee ads already running in those states, as well as 16 others. New Americans, Once, and Hard Things are positive vision ads that present Bush's priorities and his concept of leadership.

Audio of New American:
Announcer: "A lot of new Americans arrived today. They were neither Republican nor Democrat. But someone held them close and hoped: be healthy, learn a lot. It takes leadership to give everyone a shot at the American dream. To make sure every child learns to read. To strengthen social security. To keep America strong. To unite, not divide, and let every American look at the White House and be proud. George W. Bush for President."

Audio of Once:
Announcer: "Once in a hundred years our nation has this chance: to be at peace, to be prosperous, to do something good with it all. This is the time to tackle the tough things. Shouldn't our grandkids find Social Security secure? Shouldn't we raise standards so every child learns to read? Shouldn't we keep America strong and rebuild our military? Shouldn't the president unite, not divide, and renew America's purpose? George W. Bush for President."

Audio of Hard Things:
George W. Bush: "This is a moment in history when we have a chance to focus on tough problems. It's not always popular to say, 'Our children can't read,' or 'Social Security needs improving,' or 'We have a budget surplus and a deficit in values.' But those are the right things to say. And the right way to make America better for everyone is to be bold and decisive. To unite instead of divide. Now is the time to do the hard things."

Visuals:
The ads share many of the same clips: babies with their parents, children, students in the classroom, senior adults. All three feature individuals of varying ethnicity. While Bush is only shown in the last scene in New American and Once, he opens Hard Things and speaks to the camera for much of the spot.

Fact Check: No inaccuracies.

The Strategy:
New Americans, Once, and Hard Things allow the Bush campaign to reach out to voters in four swing states and set the tone - optimistic but tough - leading into the upcoming Republican convention. The commercials highlight Bush's priorities during thi era of relative prosperity: to improve education, strengthen Social Security and the military, and to encourage an inclusive society and heightened values.

The ads are the first from the Bush camp in three months and are also the first made with the help of Bush's New York ad team, the "Park Avenue Posse," a group brought in to ensure that ads for the Austin-based campaign have national appeal. Airing of New Americans, Once, and Hard Things will help spend down Bush's campaign coffers, which must be emptied by the convention's end. Under Federal Election Commission (FEC) rules, because Bush has agreed to take public funding during the general election, the money he's raised for the primaries must be spent or go unused.

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