Gore Ad: Can Bush <i>Lead</i>?

ad watch flag
The CBS News Political Unit is tracking the latest campaign commercials. Candice Berry analyzes a last-minute attack ad from Al Gore.

The Ad:
In a last ditch effort to sway undecided voters in the final week until Election Day, the Gore-Lieberman campaign releases its most scathing attack ad against George W. Bush. The 30 second spot titled Lead questions Bush's ability to lead as president by spotlighting some of darkest spots on his record as governor of Texas.

"As Governor, George W. Bush gave big oil a tax break, while opposing health care for 220,000 kids. Texas now ranks 50th in family health care."

"He's left the minimum wage at $3.35 an hour... let polluters police themselves. Today, Texas ranks last in air quality."

"Now Bush promises the same one trillion dollars from Social Security to two different groups. He squanders the surplus on a tax cut for those making over $300,000 dollars. Is he ready to lead

The ad begins with a smug looking shot of Bush and moves to various images to illustrate the ad's claims: a distraught factory worker, a mother comforting her sick son, a smoke stack billowing out smoke, and an elderly couple sorting out bills.

Fact Check:
Each of the charges contains an element of truth, but leaves out some relevant details. The ad is correct in stating that Bush prioritized a tax break for small oil companies. Due to dropping oil prices in early 1999, Bush placed a tax cut for small oil producers on "emergency status," allowing him to pass it quickly that same year. He refused to do the same for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and initially supported a proposal that covered 220,000 less children than the plan issued by state Democrats. However, Bush later signed the Democratic version. The other claims are accurate and are charges we've heard from Gore throughout the campaign.

This ad takes the Gore-Lieberman ad campaign to another level. Until now, ads sponsored by the Gore campaign were largely positive. Negative attacks were left to the DNC and special interest groups. With only a few days left in the race and neither candidate a sure win, both campaigns have brought out the big guns. It's important to note that the Gore campaign delayed the release of their ad to determine how a negative Bush ad released would play out in the court of public opinion.