Gore's School Solution

The CBS News Political Unit is tracking the latest campaign commercials. Candice Tolliver Berry takes a look at a new Democratic Party ad that focuses on Al Gore's plan for strengthening education.

The Ad:
The Democratic National Committee has released its second ad promoting Al Gore's education agenda. The spot, titled Starts, highlights Gore's formula for fixing ailing public schools, which calls for parental responsibility, higher teacher standards, smaller class sizes, increased funding for school construction and equal access to technology. The ad will air across the country for the next few weeks.

Audio:
Al Gore: "Strengthening education begins with us, not with government. Parents simply have to get involved and take responsibility to make sure that their children study and learn. But government has to take responsibility for what it can do - fix failing schools, reduce class size, set high standards for students and for teachers. We're in an information age. We have a responsibility to make sure that our schools are the very best in the entire world."

Visuals:
The ad begins with Al Gore talking to a seated audience, with music reminiscent of small-town America playing in the background. The scenes that follow illustrate Gore's education initiatives: a mother guiding her son through a computer program, a father counseling his teenage son, students sharing books in a well-stocked library and a row of students each working at their own computer terminal. The ad ends with Gore positioned at eye level with a smiling little girl, reading from a book.

Fact Check:
No inaccuracies. The ad is consistent with Gore's previous positions on public school reform.

Strategy:
The very first line of the ad — "strengthening education begins with us, not the government" — bears a striking resemblance to the popular GOP mantra of individual responsibility over big government, and could spark further criticism that Gore is claiming Republican ideology as his own.

The ad is an obvious attempt by the Democrats to reclaim the education issue for Gore. Unlike Gore's first education ad, which received unfavorable reviews for its attacks on Gov. Bush, this ad takes a totally positive tack. Additionally, the ad portrays Gore as a candidate who values the education of all Americans by featuring a different ethnic group in almost every scene.