Another in a series evaluating the accuracy of political advertising.
Candidate: Bill Bradley
Markets: Iowa and New Hampshire
Producer: Crystal Team
Time: 60 seconds
Audio: [Narrator:] Bill Bradley was born in Crystal City, Missouri. He was a basketball hero, an Olympic gold medalist, a Rhodes scholar and a U.S. senator from New Jersey for 18 years.
[Sen. Daniel Moynihan:] The 1986 Tax Reform Act, the first major reform of the 20th century, didn't just happen. Bill made it happen.
[Sen. Bob Kerrey:] When the verdict was handed down in the Rodney King case, Senator Bradley took two pencils and tapped them slowly 56 times to represent the 56 times that Rodney King was struck by the Los Angeles Police Department...
[Maureen Drumm:] When I was pregnant with my second child, Bill Bradley proposed a law that women be allowed to stay in the hospital for 48 hours. Thanks to Senator Bradley, my daughter is alive today. That's the type of man I want in the White House.
[Graphic:] It Can Happen.
Analysis: The claim by a Pennsylvania woman with lupus that her daughter is alive because of Bradley is highly misleading. The former senator sponsored a 1996 law requiring insurers to pay for 48-hour hospital stays for mothers and their newborns. Drumm and her first child developed serious complications about 26 hours after the birth -- but this happened in 1993, two years before Bradley proposed his bill. What's more, Drumm's insurance company allowed her to remain hospitalized for 48 hours, so the illnesses were treated. Drumm contacted Bradley during her secong pregnancy and campaign spokeman Anita Dunn said Drumm credits Bradley for the birth of her third child because she would have been afraid to have the baby without the 48-hour law.
This first effort by Bradley's Madison Avenue team -- a second spot has Bradley promising a campaign of "more than sound bites and photo ops" -- skips quickly over Bradley's "basketball hero" days and focuses on his Senate record. Bradley can claim credit as a key proponent of the landmark tax reform law, and his gesture on the Rodney King case is meant to highlight his longtime attention to racial issues. But in an anti-Washington age, the $214,000 ad buy is surprising for the use of two senators as character witnesses.