Getting To Know Gore

The CBS News Political Unit is tracking the latest campaign commercials. Candice Berry analyzes '1969,' Al Gore's answer to George W. Bush's latest ad buy. The ad looks at Gore's life, and places emphasis on those decisions that mark Gore as an independent person and politician.

The Ad: 1969 is the first post-convention ad released by the Gore-Lieberman 2000 presidential campaign. The 60-second spot attempts to advance one of the dominant themes of the Democratic convention - "Get to know Al Gore the Individual" - in 17 key battleground states: Arkansas, Delaware, Kentucky, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia. A 30-second version of the ad will run in Iowa.

Audio: Narrator: "1969... America in turmoil. Al Gore graduates college. His father, a U.S. Senator, opposes the Vietnam war. Al Gore has his doubts, but enlists in the Army. When he comes home from Vietnam, the last thing he thinks he'll ever do is enter politics. He starts a family with Tipper, becomes an investigative reporter.
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"Then Al Gore decided that to change what was wrong in America, he had to fight for what was right. He ran for Congress. Held some of the first hearings on cleaning up toxic waste... made the environment his cause...broke with his own party to support the Gulf War.

"Fought to reform welfare with work requirements and time limits. His fight now is to ensure that prosperity enriches all our families, not just the few.

"Strengthen social security; take on big drug companies to guarantee prescription drugs for seniors; hold schools accountable for results; tx cuts for working families and the middle class. Al Gore - married 30 years...father of four...fighting for us."

Visuals: 1969 begins with vintage footage of the chaotic times that mark U.S. engagement in the Vietnam war: soldiers scrambling on the battlefields of Vietnam and raucous protest in the streets at home. Following these images are photographs of Gore in official Army uniform talking with his father, former Senator Al Gore Sr., illustrating Gore's decision to enlist despite his father's outspoken opposition to the Vietnam War and personal doubts about the war.

Subsequent images from old home video of Tipper playing with Karenna and Gore keying a typewriter in the newsroom of the Nashville Tennessean illustrate the direction Gore took following Vietnam - not toward politics, but marriage and a career in journalism. Yet, what is seen next reveals a change of heart. We see that Gore decides to enter politics by photographs of him leading a series of town hall meetings and talking intimately with constituent in his district. The follow scenes check off Gore's laundry list of campaign promises: tax breaks for working families, clean air and water standards, welfare reform and public school accountability.

Fact Check: No inaccuracies.

Strategy: This ad is an ambitious effort by the Gore campaign to create a transition between the themes promoted during the Democratic National Convention and the fall campaign season. One of the foremost goals of the convention was to present Gore in a historical context, as his own man. 1969 reinforces this effort by taking the viewing public on a picture tour of the milestones that have led Gore to his run for president.

Several scenes illustrate Gore's autonomy as a person and politician. Gore's break with his father to join the Army and serve in Vietnam, his decision not to immediately launch a career in politics and his departure with the Democratic party to support U.S. involvement in the Persian Gulf War all speak to Gore's ability to make decisions independent of the external pressures.

This ad also matches the latest Bush campaign ad - released Monday - almost state for state and dollar for dollar, signaling a fierce battle between the two candidates in the coming months. A few notable exceptions: Gore's ad runs in New Mexico while Bush's does not. Additionally, Bush's ad runs in Georgia, North Carolina and West Virginia.