New Bush Ad Spotlights Taxes

The Bush campaign released a new television ad on taxes today. The ad recites various votes by John Kerry in favor of tax increases, including gasoline tax hikes. The ad says that Kerry has voted to raise taxes a total of 98 times, which sounds like an undercount to me. The ad isn’t great, but it’s OK. The best thing about it is that it mimics the style and format of the ad on intelligence. We see Kerry vowing not to raise taxes on the middle class, and then the narrator says, “Really?” The ad ends with the tag line, “There’s what Kerry says, and then there’s what Kerry does.” That’s an extremely effective theme.
You can see the ad here.
The Kerry campaign must hate this. Kerry had intended to be off the air in August, since he is now spending money that counts against his $75 million total from now to the election. But he was forced into a television ad buy to counter the Swift Boat Vets’ campaign. Now, he’s tied up in knots talking about Vietnam, while Bush is hammering him on the issues that Kerry keeps saying he wants to talk about: national security and taxes. Kerry got himself into this mess by making the decision–which I thought weird at the time, and still do–to make his 35-year-old service in Vietnam the foundation of his campaign. There is still plenty of time for Kerry to right himself, but he’ll have to do it, in my opinion, by starting over and abandoning his effort to run a bland, issues-free, flag-waving campaign.

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