More August ads

By Stephen W. Stromberg
Published August 4, 2004 2:20PM (EDT)

President George Bush's latest batch of ads doesn't focus on flip-flops. Instead, two new positive ads give a nod to the war and the economy and then trek into values and optimism territory. This distinctly positive approach is a new tack for the Bush team, which has so far run an almost relentlessly negative campaign. About 75 percent of the campaign's ads so far have been attack ads. These new ads also indicate that the president is looking to the values war for traction in this election, probably because his numbers on the war on terror -- the issue traditionally considered his strength -- are down, and he can't match Kerry on the popularity of his domestic agenda. After all, when you cant run on issues, make an issue out of optimism.

There is also a new attack ad out from the Bush camp that criticizes John Kerry's votes for distribution of the morning after pill in schools and against parental notification for teen abortion. More on the values debate. The really remarkable thing about this attack ad is that the Bush campaign seems to perpetrate a flip flop of its own near the end. The narrator asks, "John Kerry has his priorities. The question is, are they yours?" So now Kerry is less flip flopper on issues of abortion rights and more left-wing ideologue. Karl Rove may want to get his story straight.

Knocking around the Bush campaign's website, you will also stumble upon a full-length video of John Kerry's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. Posting this is another gamble. Most agree Kerry gave one of the best speeches of his career last week. But if the Bush website is more about riling the base, almost an hour of John Kerry might do the trick. Just hope no swing voters decide to click through.

Stephen W. Stromberg

Stephen W. Stromberg is a former editorial fellow at Salon.

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