This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," Oct. 21, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

Watch "The Big Story With John Gibson" weeknights at 5 p.m. ET!

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: If a political campaign is like a war, campaign ads are its carpet bombs. This year's commercials have been plenty nasty, but are they harsher than campaign ads of the past?

Heather Nauert is here with a look.

HEATHER NAUERT, FNC CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, John.

Well, flip-flop ads and commercials designed to scare voters were done 62 years ago when the first campaign ads actually aired on television. The techniques and trends have changed over the years, but the messages are largely the same.

David Schwartz (search), Curator of the American Museum of the Moving Image (search) is here with a look at some of the campaigns that were considered groundbreaking at the time.

David, let's first start off by taking a look at the first flip-flop ad. This is from 1952: the Eisenhower-Stevenson campaign, where Stevenson was calling Eisenhower a flip-flopper. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVENSON AD, CARTOON REPORTER: Anymore questions?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What about aid to Europe?

TWO-HEADED CARTOON DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I'll personally tear down the Iron Curtain.

SECOND HEAD, EISENHOWER: Not another nickel down that rat hole. Let the Commies have it.

UNIDENTIFIED ANGRY AUDIENCE MEMBER: That's double talk!

REPORTER: What are you complaining about? You get two policies for the price of one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NAUERT: OK. That there was the first flip-flop ad. How did they come up with that one, David?

DAVID SCHWARTZ, CURATOR, MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE: Well, I think they were just trying to say Eisenhower was a puppet of the Republican Party. Eisenhower had not been involved in politics and the problem with that is that Eisenhower was such an admired war hero that nobody really bought this idea.

NAUERT: OK.

We've got a couple here we're going to try to jam through and get them all in. In 1964 — let's move on to that one — there was a Johnson- Goldwater ad in which Johnson attacked Goldwater for voting against the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. And this is another groundbreaking ad. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE VOICE OVER: Do you know what people used to do? They used to explode atomic bombs in the air. Now children should have lots of Vitamin A and calcium, but they shouldn't have any strontium 90 or cesium 137. These things come from atomic bombs and they're radioactive. They can make you die.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NAUERT: OK. That was probably considered the first scare ad. Did that work?

SCHWARTZ: It was very effective. In 1964 the big fear had to do with nuclear war and nuclear fallout. And it was very effective to use a child in an ad.

And we're seeing that in this year's ads, both the Bush and Kerry campaigns, just in the path few days have released ads that have images of children. Children can really play on the emotions.

NAUERT: Right. Now you can't get rid of the kids.

OK. Let's take a look at 1972. This was Nixon-McGovern ad. And Nixon was saying that McGovern had switched his position over a whole lot of issues, including the Vietnam War.

Let's take a look at that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIXON TELEVISION AD (unidentified voice over): Last year he proposed tax inheritances of over $500,000 at 100 percent. This year he suggests 77 percent.

In Florida, he was pro-busing. In Oregon he said he would support the anti-busing bill now in Congress. Last year, this year. The question is: what about next year?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NAUERT: How did this one go over at the time, and how would you say it relates to what we're going through now?

SCHWARTZ: Well, the reason this ad was effective at the time was because McGovern did, in fact, change his running mate during the Democratic Convention. He dropped Thomas Eagleton and went with Sergeant Shriver and that was the flip-flop. So the ad had a ring of truth.

When you look at the ads in our exhibit, if you go to our Web site, which is movingimage.us, and you look at the past 50 years, you see the very same techniques are used over and over again, the same messages and the same ideas.

The ads just look more modern as time goes on. But the same strategies are there. So this year we're seeing the flip-flop strategy being used against Kerry.

NAUERT: All right. David Schwartz, we're going to have to leave it there. You have 250 ads on your Web site. It's called the livingroomcandidate.com. It's a whole lot of fun to take a look at it. David, thanks a lot.

John, lots more ads on there. You have to check them out. A throwback to your youth.

GIBSON: To my youth. Yes, I will. Me and Abe Lincoln. Thanks a lot, Heather.

Content and Programming Copyright 2004 Fox News Network, L.L.C. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2004 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, L.L.C.'s and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.