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Gore Cultivates Farm Vote

The CBS News Political Unit is tracking the campaign commercials of the presidential hopefuls. Sean Richardson analyzes the latest effort of Democrat Al Gore.


The Ad: In Iowa this week, the Gore campaign launched a new ad called Flood. This 30-second spot is yet another effort by Gore to declare that he is the only Democratic candidate for president who supported flood relief in 1993.

Audio: Senator Tom Harkin: "The 1993 floods in Iowa were something that we'll tell our grandchildren about. The floods devastated Iowa and Al Gore came through for us, as he's done so many times when I called on him to help Iowa. In fact, Al Gore was the only Democratic candidate for president who helped make sure that Iowa got the help we desperately needed after those floods. I'm Tom Harkin. I'm here to say that Al Gore has stood up for Iowa. And in the caucuses on Monday, January 24th, it's time for us to stand up for Al Gore.

Video: The ad opens with flood footage from 1993, and then cuts to a casually dressed Gore meeting with Iowans. Gore is then seen in a more vice presidential setting as Harkin states: "Al Gore came through for us as he's done so many times when I called on him to help Iowa." The spot proceeds to show Senator Harkin meeting with Iowans, and Gore meeting with potential voters. The ad concludes with text across the screen: "Al Gore. Fighting For Us."

Fact Check: In last Saturday's Des Moines Register debate, Vice President Gore attacked Bill Bradley for voting against flood relief in 1993. Although Bradley failed to respond to the criticism during the debate, this is a misrepresentation of his voting record by Gore.

When the emergency disaster-relief package of 1993 came before the Senate, Harkin, a Gore supporter, offered an amendment that would have added $1 billion to the relief package. Senator Bradley voted against this amendment, claiming it was too broad and not targeted to the people who needed it most. However, Bradley voted in favor of final passage of the $5.7 billion flood-relief bill, which included the additional $1 billion Harkin requested. According to the Bradley campaign, the Clinton-Gore administration did not support Harkin's amendment until three minutes before the floor debate in the Senate ended.

Strategy: In Iowa, Gore is putting on a "full-court press" of his own. He's trying to establish himself as the lone Democratic candidate who knows agriculture issues. In a daily barrage that began at last Saturday's debate, Gore has been hammering Bradley on issues that Iowa farmers hold close to their hearts. Gore's strategy to win the farmers' vote is two-pronged: first, attack Bradley's voting record in the Senate, casting him as someone who's not compassionate about issues that affect farmers; second, elevate his own status a a farmer by discussing his Tennessee roots.

Gore is pulling out all stops to win the support of farmers in Iowa. He has had Harkin join him on the campaign trail and has even flown out a farmer from New Jersey, Roy Etsch. On Thursday, Etsch appeared at a Gore event with local farmers and stated that Bradley "knows nothing about agriculture and cares less." Although this new ad doesn't mention Bradley by name, the Gore campaign in trying to reaffirm its position that Bradley is not farmer friendly.

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