Bush ads backfire

Bush and his supporters smear McCain on the environment and breast cancer while McCain's "Southern strategy" fails but up north in New York he's got a secret sharer in Giuliani.

Published March 3, 2000 10:06AM (EST)

Wednesday the Bush campaign started running ads in New York which accused McCain of opposing
federal funding for breast cancer research in a New York hospital. In the interim Salon revealed
that breast cancer is a subject close to McCain's heart and Friday the Associated Press discovered
that Bush denied $40 million in funding for breast cancer screening while governor of Texas because
"most of the money comes from the federal government."

Also on Wednesday, a group called Republicans for Clean Air started running ads in New York accusing McCain of opposing clean-fuel initiatives and praising Bush's environmental record. The mystery of the group's backers has finally unravelled. Long time Bush backer Sam Wyly announced Friday that he founded Republicans for Clean Air and was financing their advertising buys in New York, Ohio and San Francisco to the tune of nearly $2 million. Wyly has donated nearly $700,000 to Bush campaigns since 1997.

The Associated Press has tracked down other Bush connections: the woman who bought the ad time for Republicans for Clean Air, Lydia Meurat, is also tied to a political action committee which has been a long time Bush supporter. The ads were also placed by Multimedia, a company which has worked for New York Governor George Pataki and former
Senator Al D'Amato in the past, both strong Bush supporters. The Bush campaign has been more than circuitous in addressing these ads. In a press release Thursday, Bush campaign spokesman Ari Fleischer said, "Senator McCain is once again running a divisive campaign, vilifying and
attacking anyone with whom he has a principled policy difference. We have nothing to do with these ads, and the governor will continue to run a
campaign that unites our party and nation, without vilifying those who disagree with him."

Is Giuliani McCain's secret sharer?

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani opened up his weekly Friday morning WABC radio show
today with a standard opening monologue before going to a commercial -
which was an ad for, of all things, John McCain, the presidential candidate
who Mayor Giuliani insists he is not supporting.

The New York Mayor's ever-percolating war with the state's Republican Party
and Governor George Pataki has bubbled up in the last few days over his
continuing game of footsie with the Arizona Senator. Giuliani angered his
state colleagues - who are going all out for George W. Bush - by
supporting McCain's efforts to get on the state's ballot. Since then Giuliani, who endorsed Bush but refused to appear at a Bush event nor criticize McCain in virtually any way, allowed a top political
operative to organize support for McCain, and called McCain "one of my
heroes" on national television.

After Gov. Pataki's communications director blasted Giuliani yesterday, the
mayor made a point of greeting Bush on his arrival at a Long Island
airport and then accompanying
him and Gov. Pataki to a breast cancer awareness event. (The McCain radio
advertisement assailed Bush for "distorting John McCain's record on, of all
things, cancer research.")

The ad sales representative who sold the airtime to the McCain campaign
said the timing of the commercial during Giuliani's show was just "the luck
of the draw." (Jesse Drucker)

GOP plays Max Headroom

The three remaining Republican candidates conducted a muted debate Thursday night. The leading feature was John McCain's appearance via satellite: The folks at CNN set up a television monitor on top of a podium so that he would be visible to the audience and his fellow participants, but one couldn't help thinking of Max Headroom when watching. For a real sense of the rough-and-tumble you have to go to the comics.

McCain's "Southern strategy" fails

McCain's Virginia gambit Monday, in which he bet that George W. Bush would win there but lose in Washington, thus giving McCain the opportunity to portray him as a creature of Jefferson Davis and conservative Christians, appears to have backfired. If it's any consolation, McCain himself admits that his speech and follow-up remarks hurt his campaign.

Whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger

Recently Al Gore has converted into nominee mode by saying that the competition from Bill Bradley has made him a better candidate. Now Bush appears to be basking in the same light.

Presidential candidates with movable limbs!

Salon's action figures are now visible in our newest ad campaign.

Bush slogans revealed

Meanwhile, Slate has uncovered a document detailing the evolving slogans of Bush's campaign.

Questionnaire-gate, Part 2

On Tuesday, Gore's presidential campaign hammered Bradley for responding "no answer" to a question on Medicare in an Associated Press questionnaire. "His response on the issue of Medicare is 'no response,'" Gore spokesman Chris Lehane said. "Bill Bradley just doesn't get it." On Wednesday, Trail Mix mocked this press release, characterizing the "no response" as a Bradley staff slip-up -- one without policy implications.

But a Bradley staffer corrects Trail Mix, insisting that the Associated Press employee assigned to posting the answers was responsible for the slip-up. "So for about 20 minutes -- until we looked on the site and saw the problem -- there was a 'no response' next to our name," Bradley spokeswoman Sara Howard says. In this light, the Gore team's rapid-response press release seems that much more ludicrous. (Jake Tapper)

On the trail

Bradley: Maine and Rhode Island.

Bush: New York.

Gore: Florida, Atlanta and Boston.

McCain: New York and Connecticut.

Poll positions

The latest polls show Bush ahead in all states except New York and Massachusetts. According to a University of Massachusetts poll, McCain holds a 65 to 23 percent lead among likely Republican voters in the Bay State. A Zogby/New York Post/Fox 5 poll shows McCain ahead 44 to 38 percent in New York, while a Marist College poll shows McCain ahead 51 to 44 percent among likely Republican primary voters.

A Los Angeles Times poll of registered Republicans likely to vote in the presidential primary shows Bush ahead 47 to 26 percent, while Mason-Dixon Polling and Research shows Bush ahead in Missouri 48 to 36 percent among likely Republican primary voters.

Slate asks whether polls are sleazy.

Talking heads

CNN's Crossfire: 7:30 p.m. ET, Bill Carrick, Democratic Strategist and Ron Kaufman, Republican Strategist amd Bush Supporter

Sunday Shows
Fox News Sunday: Pat Buchanan 9 a.m ET

By Compiled by Max Garrone

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