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GOP: Gore No Mr. Clean

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The CBS News Political Unit is tracking the latest campaign commercials. Francesca Gessner analyzes the latest RNC ad, appearing in key battleground states, attempting to paint Gore as a hypocrite on environmental issues.

The Ad: On Tuesday, the Republican National Committee launched a new $3.7 million TV ad campaign on behalf of George W. Bush. The 30-second ad, titled Agenda, attacks Al Gore on the environment while defending Bush's environmental record in Texas. The ad is airing in 17 key battleground states: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Audio: Announcer: "While George Bush offers a positive issue agenda, more negative attacks from Al Gore. The truth? George Bush is cleaning up Texas. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that Texas leads America in reducing toxic pollution. And Al Gore? Gore has allowed mining companies to mine zinc from his property. They've been cited for polluting the source of local drinking water. All while Gore's made half a million dollars in mining royalties. Even on the environment, Al Gore says one thing but does another."

Visual: Agenda opens with a shot of George W. Bush and then cuts to Al Gore speaking on a television monitor with the text "Al Gore's Negative Attacks." We then see Bush speaking at a podium with the text, "Cleaning Up Texas." The ad then shows a diagram of the state of Texas with the text: "Texas Leads American in Reducing Toxic Pollution (Environmental Protection Agency Toxic Release Inventory 1995-98)." The ad then cuts to a close-up of Al Gore followed by an aerial helicopter shot of Gore's family farm in Tennessee. The aerial view of the farm is marked with text pointing out "Gore Farm" and "Zinc Mine." The ad then shows sewage pouring out of a pipe with an EPA "Notice of Violation" transposed over the image. We then see an up-close, fuzzy shot of Gore speaking in the White House press briefing room with the text "$500,000 Mining Royalties (Public Financial Disclosure Reports)". The ad concludes with a black screen and white lettering that reads: "Al Gore Says One Thing, But Does Another. Gorepolluter.com"

Fact check: The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation issued a Notice of Violation on May 16, 2000, to Pasminco Zinc, a company mining on Gore's farm. The Gore campaign claims that any problems that have arisen regarding mining were resolved quickly in cooperation with state environmental officials.

The Strategy: Agenda comes on the heels of a series of ads launched by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during the Philadelphia convention that attacked Bush on several issues, including the environment. In addition to the DNC ad, Bus's environmental record in Texas has been the target of several ads run by the Sierra Club. With Agenda, the RNC strikes back - seeking to defend Bush's environmental record while simultaneously turning the tables on Gore and attacking him on one of his signature issues - the environment. The ad's emphasis on "the truth" and Gore "saying one thing, but doing another," reflects a broader Republican strategy to undermine Gore's integrity by portraying him as a negative, untrustworthy candidate. The ad's timing - coming on the same day as Gore's announcement of his running mate and less than one week before the Democratic convention - suggests an attempt to take some of the media spotlight away from Gore as he heads into his convention.