He was the first to announce his candidacy, and former Delaware governor Pierre S. (Pete) du Pont IV (R) will be the first presidential candidate to air television commercials in New Hampshire.
Deputy campaign manager Bob Perkins said the ads, which will begin running Monday, will kick off a six-week blitz spelling out du Pont's positions on his campaign's five major issues: Social Security, welfare, phasing out farm subsidies over five years, improving public education and mandating high school drug tests.
Perkins said the first week will be devoted to a 30-second Social Security spot. In it, du Pont faces the camera in front of a plain studio backdrop and explains how he would supplement the Social Security system by allowing contributions to tax-free retirement accounts. Du Pont invites viewers to look for a three-page ad in their Sunday (Oct. 25) newspapers elaborating on his position.
The ads were made by H.J. Kaufman & Associates of Washington, at a production cost of $120,000. Perkins said "several hundred thousand dollars" will be budgeted for air time in Boston, Manchester and Portland, Maine, to reach every corner of New Hampshire.
Perkins said du Pont chose Social Security as a kickoff issue "because it's difficult to explain, and is something that is very thoughtful and requires debate." He said the ads are purposely no-frills and perhaps a little dry.
"Presidential campaigns are not about resume comparisons," Perkins said. "They're not about who can make the best feel-good commercial or who has the slickest production. Presidential campaigns are decided by people who care about the future, what beliefs a particular candidate holds."