When a presidential candidate releases a new commercial these days, newspapers and wire services quickly run pieces evaluating the accuracy of the ads.
Now rival candidates are getting into the game. Less than three hours after Vice President Gore posted a health care ad on his Web site yesterday, aides to Bill Bradley, his Democratic rival, e-mailed reporters a partisan critique of the ad. The main charge: political plagiarism.
While the Gore ad said it is "unconscionable" for "the wealthiest nation on Earth" to leave "millions and millions of children" uninsured, the ad watch recounted a Sept. 28 speech in which Bradley said that "at a time of unparalleled prosperity," he sees "nearly 14 million of our children" living in poverty, and "this is not acceptable."
"Does This Sound Familiar?" the Bradley response asks. It also cites technical factors in charging that the Gore plan will not guarantee health care for all children.
The Gore ad, shot in Carthage, Tenn., never mentions Bradley, in part because Gore aides are sensitive to the notion that the vice president should not always be on the attack. "Our goal is to lay out our positive vision for what Al Gore wants to do with health care," said Gore media adviser Carter Eskew.