ARLINGTON, Va. – President Bush talks about his hope for the future in his re-election campaign's first television ads but mainly focuses on the national security and economic challenges America has faced during his three years in office.
The ads include images of wreckage from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and talk of a declining stock market as they seek to portray Bush as a leader on both foreign and domestic issues.
"I know exactly where I want to lead this country," the Republican incumbent says in one ad. "I'm optimistic about America because I believe in the people of America."
The Bush-Cheney re-election team unveiled the ads Wednesday, a day before they will start running on broadcast channels in media markets in 17 states expected to be competitive this year and nationwide on select cable networks.
Advisers say the ads are meant to show that the country is safer and stronger today because of Bush and to make the case that Bush's policies have put America on the right path.
"We thought it important to start with a setting the table of where the country's been over the last three years," said Matthew Dowd (search), the campaign's chief strategist.
Dowd called the ads — one 60-second spot and three 30-second spots, including one in Spanish — the beginning of a conversation that will last until the election. He said ads will be on the air consistently but not necessarily every day until Nov. 2.
The commercials are the first phases in what is expected to be a multimillion-dollar advertising onslaught. They carry the slogan, "Steady leadership in times of change."
Bush has more than $100 million in the bank, and a large part of that will be spent on TV ads over the next few months.