AD WATCH | Evaluating the accuracy of political advertising
Dean Chides Rivals on War
Wednesday, January 14, 2004; Page A06
Candidate: Howard Dean
Producer: Trippi, McMahon & Squier
Time: 30 seconds
Images: Head shots of Richard A. Gephardt, John F. Kerry and John Edwards against a photograph of the Missouri congressman standing with President Bush and Republican Sen. Trent Lott.
Audio: [Narrator:] Where did the Washington Democrats stand on the war? Dick Gephardt wrote the resolution to authorize war. John Kerry and John Edwards both voted for the war. Then Dick Gephardt voted to spend another $87 billion on Iraq. Howard Dean has a different view. [Dean:] I opposed the war in Iraq, and I'm against spending another $87 billion there. I'm Howard Dean, and I approve this message because our party and our country need new leadership.
Analysis: While Dean has used the war issue hundreds of times, his decision to target three opponents with a negative ad days before the caucuses is unusual for Iowa, which has a tradition of positive campaigning. It suggests he is also worried about Kerry and Edwards, who trail Dean and Gephardt in Iowa, gaining momentum. The ad is factually accurate, but while Dean says he opposes the president's $87 billion budget for Iraq, he does not favor a quick pullout and therefore would have to spend some of that money.
Dean's rivals, by contrast, are airing milder spots. Edwards says in a New Hampshire ad: "When they say I can't change Washington, I say I'm not owned by anybody." Gephardt talks about unity and Martin Luther King Jr. in an Iowa ad, but mentions his opponents in a New Hampshire spot on trade: "Gephardt led the opposition to NAFTA and the China trade deal. Wesley Clark, Howard Dean, John Kerry and Joe Lieberman all supported NAFTA." Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich has launched an ad calling for an immediate U.S. pullout from Iraq.
The Dean swipe at his rivals suggests he has abandoned a previous advertising strategy aimed more at the general election.
- Howard Kurtz
© 2004 The Washington Post Company