Buchanan hits Bush on values TV ads reflect challenger's shift in attack.

February 28, 1992|By New York Times

ATLANTA -- Somewhere between New Hampshire and Georgia, the economy dropped off the screen and was replaced by good, old-fashioned Christian values.

In a new high-voltage negative commercial that went on the air here Wednesday, Patrick J. Buchanan attacks President Bush for "investing tax dollars in pornographic and blasphemous art."

While scenes of leather-clad gay men flash on the screen, a narrator intones, "This so-called art has glorified homosexuality, exploited children and perverted the image of Jesus Christ."

The footage is from a movie subsidized by the National Endowment for the Arts.

In a second television commercial, Mr. Buchanan attacks Mr. Bush for a proposal to use church donor lists to collect taxes while the screen shows a picture of a quaint country chapel. (Actually, the Treasury Department made the proposal.)

The new commercials went on television a day after Mr. Bush unveiled advertisements attacking Mr. Buchanan for his opposition to the war in the Persian Gulf and implicitly questioning his patriotism.

In the advertisements, Gen. P.X. Kelley, a retired Marine Corps commander, says that he "took it personally" when Mr. Buchanan opposed the Persian Gulf War.

The increasingly bitter air war between Mr. Buchanan and Mr. Bush reflects the competitiveness of the Republican race in Georgia, where the first Southern primary will be held Tuesday.

Mr. Buchanan has acknowledged that he needs to win at least one primary over the next two weeks to remain competitive.

Mr. Bush has suffered two embarrassing primary showings in recent weeks -- the first in New Hampshire, where he ran against Buchanan, and the second in South Dakota, where he ran against an uncommitted slate.

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