What's Wrong With This Commercial?

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CBS
The CBS News Political Unit is tracking the latest campaign commercials. Candice Berry takes a look at the re-release of the Democratic National Committee's Patients' Bill Of Rights commercial, which is being aimed at blacks. But you'll have to look long and hard to find any African-Americans in the ad. And all the doctors in the commercial are white.

The Ad: The DNC has unveiled its first television ad targeting African-Americans. The ad is a re-release of the DNC's Patients' Bill of Rights commercial. Democratic officials say it will run on Black Entertainment Television.

Audio: Announcer (with smooth, upbeat music): "The issue - a real Patients' Bill of Rights."

Al Gore: "You better believe that there are insurance companies out there that don't want to see changes that will give the decisions on your health care back to the doctors and the nurses."

Announcer: "The Al Gore plan ensures patients access to specialists. Safeguards to make sure doctors - not bureaucrats - make medical decisions. Stops HMOs from withholding information on treatment options to save money. Taking on the insurance companies to pass a Patients' Bill of Rights once and for all."

Visuals: The ad begins with a shot of a nurse pushing a senior citizen in a wheelchair down a hospital corridor. The words "the issue: A real Patients' Bill of Rights" appear on the screen. That dissolves into footage of Al Gore speaking to a forum about health insurers. Following Gore's sound bite, there are several pictures of doctors, nurses, patients and average Americans. The words "The Gore Plan: Ensures access to specialists," "The Gore Plan: Doctors make medical decisions," and "The Gore Plan: More treatment options" appear on the screen during the montage. The ad ends with a shot of Gore and two doctors walking in a hospital hallway. "The Gore Plan: A real Patients' Bill of Rights" and the Gore Plan Web site appear on the screen.

Fact Check: Accurate information - questionable focus.

Strategy: The DNC may have fumbled this attempt to score points for Al Gore with African-Americans. Health care is an issue of great importance to African-Americans, yet the ad contains no images of black doctors or other health-care professsionals. Blacks are prominently seen in only one of the ad's 11 scenes. Underscoring the gaffe, DNC Co-Chair Lottie Shakelford pointed to this problem before the ad's appearance, saying "black doctors complain of being excluded from HMO referral lists." When questioned about the absence of African-American doctors in the ad, DNC National Chair Joseph Andrews could only answer, "...this is the first phase of the ads."