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Gore Bashes Bush's Texas Record

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 3, 2000; Page A21

Another in a series evaluating the accuracy of political commercials.

Ad in RealVideo

Candidate: Al Gore

Markets: Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and 15 other states

Time: 30 seconds

Audio: As governor, George W. Bush gave Big Oil a tax break, while opposing health care for 220,000 kids. Texas now ranks 50th in family health care. He's left the minimum wage at $3.35 an hour. Let polluters police themselves. Today, Texas ranks last in air quality. Now Bush promises the same $1 trillion from Social Security to two different groups. He squanders the surplus on a tax cut for those making over $300,000. Is he ready to lead America?

Analysis: In this final attempt to challenge Bush's fitness for office, Gore oversimplifies some important statistics. Bush did grant a temporary tax break to some oil producers. But while he initially tried to limit the number of children covered under a federal health insurance program, he later agreed to cover an additional 400,000. Nearly all Texans are covered by the federal wage of $5.15. The reference to "polluters" who "police themselves" involves 800 plants built before 1971, and Bush (who inherited Texas's low national rankings) compromised in allowing penalties for the worst offenders. The ad unfairly implies that Bush's entire tax cut goes to $300,000-plus earners, who at most would receive 30 percent of the benefits. But Bush has not detailed how he would finance his $1-trillion plan to privatize Social Security. "They're throwing all the mud they have at the wall, hoping something will stick," says Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer. The ad's real purpose lies in the word "ready."

© 2000 The Washington Post Company

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