The Note

AP's Fournier, the first reporter on the ad story yesterday, writes that this second round of ads from the BC04 camp is "designed, through focus groups and polls, to shift voters' attention from Bush's weaknesses to strengths -- from talk of joblessness in an ailing economy to a debate over Democratic tax hikes; and on terrorism, from violence-torn Iraq to reminders of his leadership on Sept. 11, 2001." LINK

The Boston Globe's Anne Kornblut writes that the ad "offers a striking interpretation of what a terrorist looks like. During a passage about terrorism, the ad shows video of a menacing, dark-skinned man looking directly into the camera -- a shot that Mark McKinnon, a longtime Bush media adviser, said was intended to be 'generic' and not a visual slur against Middle Easterners." LINK

The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan looks at President Bush's ads yesterday, and throw in House Speaker Dennis Hastert's comment that Kerry deserves a "comeuppance" for calling Republicans "crooked" liars this week -- which evidently offended him particularly since Kerry said it in Illinois. LINK

The Note was obsessed with the five frames (we counted!!!) of black between Bush's Stand By Your Ad language and the beginning of the contrast narration:

Common? Unusual? Especially since the goal is often to get as MUCH info in the ads as possible?

We surveyed a gaggle of leading media wizards and came up with these responses.

A leading Republican ad-maker: "It's smart approach and takes out some of the sting."

A Democratic ad maker: "Media consultants use different techniques to build drama... But sounds like that is clearly not the case with this spot... Usually, you hear us in the studio pushing our editors to 'find me 10 more frames'... And with the new legal requirements of McCain-Feingold, we're stretched thinner than ever (and even more desperate for economy in how the spots are edited) . . ."

Democratic strategist and media consultant Steve Murphy: "As an editing technique, dissolving and touching to black is not an unusual technique... but five frames is quite a bit of separation . . ."

Democratic media consultant Mark Putnam: "They're meeting the legal requirements but trying to separate themselves from it . . . "

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush vs. Kerry:

USA Today's Martin Kasindorf and Mark Memmott write, "It isn't even spring. Most voters have yet to see a daffodil. But it feels like October in the presidential campaign." LINK

Kasindorf and Memmott go on to write about the pros and cons of an early intense campaign, Noting that this "could be a year when the presidential race captures and holds the public's interest no matter how mean it gets."

And, boys, thanks for the hard copy sidebar of key 2004 dates -- the inclusion of the Martha Stewart sentencing was inspired!!!

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

The New York Times' Lambert and Healy wrap President Bush's day in Long Island, which featured a conversation on the economy, a dedication ceremony for a 9/11 memorial and a fundraiser that brought in $1.6 million for the President's re-election effort. LINK

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank Notes the filet mignon waiting for Bush across the duck pond from his "solemn" visit and looks at using 9/11 as a campaign issue. LINK

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