Campiagn Ad Watch

August 07, 2007|By John Fritze | John Fritze,Sun Reporter

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon launched the first television commercial of her campaign yesterday - the third in this year's mayoral race. The 30-second spot focuses almost entirely on Dixon's time as mayor so far.

What the ad says: Upbeat piano music kicks in as a male narrator says, "She's a tough-minded chief executive who gets things done. Sheila Dixon is a problem solver." Images - black and white stills and color video - show the mayor looking assertive. She is shown at a news conference behind a table of confiscated guns, talking with a child in a school setting and shaking hands on the street. The narrator says Dixon holds "the bureaucrats accountable" and says she is working to get guns and criminals off the street. "Sheila Dixon, a mayor demanding more," the narrator concludes, "finding solutions and delivering results."

The facts: Like the most recent ad aired by City Councilman and mayoral candidate Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr., there is little to fact-check here because there are virtually no facts presented. It's hard to say, as a matter of fact, whether someone is tough-minded or a problem solver. Crime and education are persistent problems in the city and the homicide count has increased under Dixon's tenure - so those problems, at least, remain unsolved.

The ad claims Dixon is holding bureaucrats accountable. As mayor, she sacked her police commissioner and fired several fire officials after a training accident resulted in a cadet's death. As City Council president, though, she reprimanded but ultimately retained an aide who - according to Dixon - helped a company owned by Dixon's former campaign chairman to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in city work without a contract.

Analysis: The theme here is similar to the one Dixon has adopted for her campaign overall: Run as a confident incumbent - setting yourself apart from the rest of the candidates in the pack.

John Fritze

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