Commercial Break

September 01, 1992|By Susan Baer, Washington Bureau | Susan Baer, Washington Bureau,STAFF GRAPHIC

BILL CLINTON AD: "Change" 60 seconds; produced by Frank Greer, the campaign's media consultant; to be aired beginning this week in selected states in the south, west and midwest.

Script: "Something's happening. People are ready. Because they've had enough -- enough of seeing their incomes fall behind and their jobs on the line. Enough of a government that just doesn't work. They're ready for change. And changing people's lives. That's the work of his life. Twelve years battling the odds in one of our nation's poorest states. Arkansas now leads the nation in job growth. Incomes are rising at twice the national rate. 17,000 people moved from welfare to work. That's progress, and that's what we need now. Change. Real solutions. Bill Clinton has an economic plan to rebuild America that invests in our own people. Education. Training. Eight million jobs in the next four years. A new direction. Those making over $200,000 a year have to pay more. The rest of us get a break. But don't take their word. Read it yourself. It's a plan to put people first again. And six Nobel Prize economists say it'll work. For people. For a change. Bill Clinton for President.

Visuals: Upbeat, patriotic scenes of middle America from the Clinton bus tours -- Mr. Clinton speaking and shaking hands at rallies, close-ups of attentive faces in the crowds, working-class folks sitting curbside waving flags -- interspersed with an image of Mr. Clinton at his governor's desk.

Analysis: In this first TV ad of the general election, the Clinton campaign attempts to define the Democrat and his economic plan and arm him against charges, sounded loudly by the Bush team lately, that Mr. Clinton will be a tax-hike president.

The ad focuses entirely on the economy and jobs, the issues of greatest concern to voters and the area in which the president is most vulnerable. With lines reminiscent of those from his stump speeches, the spot portrays the candidate as appealing to the middle class in tough economic times and, as always, an agent of "change."

His mention of a tax "break" for all but those making over $200,000 a year is intended to counter charges by the Bush campaign that Mr. Clinton proposes a major tax increase and that he raised taxes 128 times as governor of Arkansas, a point of much recent debate. However, the Clinton campaign itself has said recently that some people making more than $150,000 might see a tax increase.

The statements and figures describing economic growth in Arkansas are flashed on the screen with disclaimers from such sources as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Arkansas Department of Human Services. But the facts don't give a complete picture. The claim that "incomes are rising at twice the national rate" is based on figures for 1990 only -- not throughout Mr. Clinton's 12-year tenure as governor -- and leave out the fact that Arkansas remains one of the poorest states. Yesterday, the Bush camp put out a five-page memo rebutting every point of the ad. The memo argues that Mr. Clinton's economic plan will, in fact, lose jobs through military cuts, tax increases and federal mandates on businesses. Mr. Clinton, answering back, said the GOP has "no credibility" saying anything about jobs. Mr. Bush himself pledged in the 1988 campaign to create 30 million jobs in 8 years but to date fewer than 1 million have been added.

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