Lazio Claims He's <i>Effective</i>

The CBS News Political Unit is tracking the latest campaign commercials. Francesca Gessner analyzes Rick Lazio's most recent ad, which portrays the New York congressman as an effective legislator on a wide array of issues.

The Ad:
New York GOP Senate candidate Rick Lazio has released a new TV ad titled Effective. The 30-second ad that's airing in the Empire State highlights Lazio's sponsorship of congressional legislation on a range of issues, including affordable housing, teacher training, the environment, senior citizens and breast cancer treatment for low-income women.

Announcer: The Quality Housing Act, to dramatically improve public housing. The Empowering Educators Act, to get better-trained teachers into the classrooms. The Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Act, to help low-income women get treatment. These are all significant pieces of legislation that have passed the U.S. Congress. Who is the congressman behind all this legislation? Rick Lazio, eight very effective years in Congress. Rick Lazio, from New York, for New York.

A barrage of laws, their bill numbers as legislation on Capitol Hill, the particular Congress which enacted them appears on a black screen: "Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act," "The Empowering Our Educators Act," "Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Act," "The Small Business Tax Fairness Act," "The Long Island Sound Restoration Act," "The Senior Citizens' Protection Act," and "The Quality Childcare Loan Forgiveness Act". Lazio appears at the end of the ad, waving to supporters and hugged by an elderly woman. "Paid for by Lazio 2000" is displayed at the bottom of the screen.

Fact Check:
No inaccuracies, but according to Hillary Clinton's campaign, Effective could be misleading on two counts. First, despite the ad's claim that Lazio is a "very effective" legislator, The New York Times reported that as chair of the House Banking Subcommittee on Housing and Opportunity, it took Lazio three years to pass the Quality Housing Act because "Lazio refused to compromise with Senate Republicans" on what were largely "symbolic" issues. Second, Lazio's "Empowering Our Educators Act" never came up for a vote - and when a similar bill came up for passage, Lazio missed the vote. A Lazio campaign spokesman explains, "There were a total of six votes on the bill, Congressman Lazio made the first five votes, and missed the last vote secure in the knowledge that the bill would pass, and it did pass by a 50-plus vote margin."

The Strategy:
As the ad's title implies, Effective seeks to emphasize Rep. Rick Lazio's credentials as a successful legislator. Though Effective never mentions Hillary Rodham Clinton by name, it implicitly contrasts Lazio's congressional record to Democrat Clinton's lack of one. Moreover, the ange of issues highlighted in the ad - affordable housing, education, the environment, senior citizens, women's health, small businesses, and childcare - aims to appeal to moderates and women voters. Finally, given the ongoing dispute between the congressman's and the first lady's camps over which candidate is more negative, the ad's positive tone casts Lazio as an issue-oriented candidate.