Published May 12, 2004
| Associated Press
WASHINGTON – President Bush's campaign, after weeks of running only attack ads against rival John Kerry (search), rolled out a positive television commercial Wednesday that touts the president's education policies — and Spanish-language spots accusing Kerry of playing politics with education.
The Spanish ads on radio and television target Hispanics and claim that Kerry has flip-flopped on his support for Bush's No Child Left Behind (search) education reform bill, bowing to education unions that oppose parts of the legislation.
Kerry spokesman Phil Singer called the ad "another one of George Bush's false and misleading attack ads aimed at obscuring the fact that the president has broken his promise to improve our schools."
Bush's Spanish ads, the second wave of his campaign, will run in New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and Florida, battleground states that have large populations of Hispanics, arguably the most volatile swing voting group.
A Democratic interest group, the New Democrat Network (search), has been running Spanish-language ads in those states for months assailing Bush on education and other domestic issues. Bush hasn't run ads targeted to Hispanics in about six weeks.
The president's 30-second Spanish TV ad has visuals similar to those in the English version that's running in 18 states. However, the Spanish commercial is almost entirely about Kerry. It points out that Bush "signed the most sweeping education reforms in 35 years" and then launches into its critique of Kerry's record.
"John Kerry praised the president's reforms, even voted for them," the ad says. "But under pressure from education unions, Kerry has changed his mind. Kerry's new plan: less accountability to parents."
The 60-second radio ad gives more details about Bush's education record and also says that "Kerry's plan will weaken our schools" and "hide problems."
Singer said Kerry's plan calls for making "the investments needed to help improve our schools."
Meanwhile, several interest groups are launching ads this week, spending small to moderate amounts of money in select media markets in a smattering of swing states.
On Wednesday, the conservative Club for Growth (search) unveiled an ad about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, highlighting Bush's efforts to "to save lives and protect liberty" by fighting terrorism. The ad, which will run starting Friday in Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, New Hampshire and New Mexico, shows pictures of the World Trade Center towers intact, and Bush amid the wreckage with fire fighters after terrorists struck the towers.
At the same time, the AFL-CIO (search) started running an ad in Missouri and one other swing state Wednesday asking "What should America's priorities be?" The commercial juxtaposes comments Bush made during his State of the Union address in January about investing in space exploration, with comments from people, about jobs, health care and college tuition.
On Thursday, the Media Fund, a liberal interest group that has run at least $20 million worth of anti-Bush TV ads, will launch newspaper and radio ads in West Virginia, where Bush visits this week.