Ad Watch

September 10, 1992|By John Fairhall | John Fairhall,Washington Bureau

Clinton ad: "Second Chance"

A 30-second spot produced by Great American Media Inc. began airing last night, according to Clinton aides, who refused to say where or divulge other details.

Script: (Bill Clinton speaking) "For so long, government has failed us. And one of its worst failures has been welfare. I have a plan to end welfare as we know it -- to break the cycle of welfare dependency. We'll provide education, job training and child care, but then those who are able must go to work, either in the private sector or in public service. I know it can work. In my state, we've moved 17,000 people from welfare rolls to payrolls. It's time to make welfare what it should be -- a second chance, not a way of life."

Visuals: Mr. Clinton speaks to the camera, apparently from the governor's office in Arkansas.

Analysis: By emphasizing welfare reform, Mr. Clinton hopes to shield himself from criticism that Democrats are welfare advocates and to seize one of the Republicans' favorite issues. It's also an opportunity to portray himself as a successful governor. The appeal is aimed, in part, at suburban white voters resentful of paying for programs for the poor and minorities. As governor Mr. Clinton worked with Congress and the Reagan administration to push for a new welfare reform law, the Family Support Act of 1988. Though the ad asserts 17,000 people left welfare rolls in Arkansas under a state program, that doesn't tell the whole story: The number of people receiving welfare under the state's Aid to Families with Dependent Children program has grown, an occurrence that Clinton aides blame on the economy and Republican policies. Nor does the ad state how long people remain on welfare. A Clinton aide said it is "hard to get accurate numbers on how long people stay on."

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