Another in a series evaluating the accuracy of political advertising.
Candidate: John McCain
Market: New Hampshire
Producer: Stevens Reed Curcio
Time: 30 seconds
Audio: [NARRATOR:] His commitment to country is unquestioned. And his commitment to reducing wasteful spending is just as strong. With John McCain, there will be no special deals for special interests.
[McCAIN:] I will refuse to sign any pork barrel bill that crosses my desk. And if Congress overrides my veto and tries to force me to waste your money, I'll make sure you know who they are, every single one of them.
[NARRATOR:] A man we can believe. And believe in. John McCain. Character. Courage. For President.
Analysis: While McCain never mentions his party in this ad, he is all but declaring war on a Republican Congress. McCain has been an outspoken crusader against what he views as pork-barrel spending, from a helicopter carrier to be built in Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott's state to a program for turning chicken manure into energy. But here he goes a step further, vowing to take on free-spending lawmakers by name. He does not, however, name names or particular projects in the ad, allowing him to inveigh against waste without citing specifics that might alienate some voters. Asked about the omissions, a McCain spokesman said: "It was only 30 seconds." The references to "courage" and "commitment to country" (with an opening shot of McCain returning from captivity in Hanoi) are an attempt to connect his war-hero past to the campaign. And McCain's vow to take on Capitol Hill may be an indirect attempt to explain why so many of his colleagues have lined up behind George W. Bush.