Hillary On The Attack

The CBS News Political Unit is tracking the latest campaign commercials. Francesca Gessner analyzes a new ad from Hillary Clinton's campaign for the New York Senate seat.

The Ad: New York Democratic Senate candidate Hillary Clinton has released a new TV ad titled Won't See. The 30-second ad attacks Long Island GOP Congressman Rick Lazio's votes on a range of issues - accusing him of voting for the biggest education cuts in history, for cutting $270 billion from Medicare, against new teachers in schools, and against a guaranteed prescription drug benefit for seniors. The ad is running throughout New York state.

Audio: Announcer: The End to Nursing Home Standards. The Largest Education Cuts in History. The Slashing of Medicare by $270 billion dollars. Who voted for all this? Rick Lazio. Four years as Newt Gingrich's deputy whip. You won't see that in his ads. And you won't see his recent votes against 100,000 new teachers...and against guaranteed prescription drug coverage under Medicare. With Rick Lazio, the more you know...the more you wonder.

Visual: A black screen with white text appearing in unison with the announcer's voice: "The End to Nursing Home Standards (HR 2491, 104th Congress), The Largest Education Cuts in History (H Con Res 67, 104th Congress), The Slashing of Medicare by $270 Billion Dollars (HR 2491, 104th Congress), Who Voted For All This? Rick Lazio." We then see a still photo of Lazio alongside former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with the text, "Rick Lazio 4 years as Gingrich's Deputy Whip." The black screen and white text returns with, "Rick Lazio Voted Against 100,000 New Teachers (RC #77, H Con Res 68, 3/25/99)." A close-up still photo of Lazio appears and remains on screen for the rest of the ad with the text, "Rick Lazio Voted against Prescription Drug Coverage Under Medicare (RC# 356, R 4680, 6/28/00)," and finally, "The More You Know the More You Wonder."

Fact check: Potentially misleading on two counts. First, regarding nursing home standards, Lazio voted to repeal federal nursing home standards and leave design and enforcement of such standards up to the states. Thus the bill did not end all nursing home standards per se, but left them to the discretion of the states. Regarding Medicare prescription drug coverage, Lazio voted against the Democratic plan that would expand Medicare to include prescription drug coverage. Instead, Lazio voted for the Republican plan that would offer incentives to private insurers to provide prescription drug coverage to Medicare recipients.

The Strategy: Won't See comes on the heels of a Lazio ad released last week titled Effective which touts Lazio's record in Congress. Won't See aggressively responds to Lazio’s latest ad by drawing attention to the "darker side" of his voting record. The ad tries to link Lazio to former House Speaker Newt Gingrih's conservative agenda and budget cuts initiated by the Republican Congress. While Lazio has tried to present himself as an independent-minded moderate, Won't See seeks to paint him as inextricably tied to the Republican leadership. Finally, the ad's focus on senior healthcare and education funding targets to two key voting blocs: seniors and women.