BC04 senior advisor Mary Matalin made the rounds on the morning news shows and told ABC News' Charlie Gibson on "Good Morning America" that the BC04 campaign was not taking on the opponent but rather Kerry's issues. "We're taking on his issues of raising taxes and repealing the Patriot Act and being against the war on terror. All issues that he basically voted on. Senator Kerry is the one that's been taking on President Bush by name, calling him a liar, crook, and it's time to discuss the issues."
And we're not sure what exactly to make of it, but Note that in the first round of BC04 ads, one ad ("Lead") featured the following tag line at the end of the ad: "I'm President Bush and I approve this message."
On the other three ads, it read "I'm George W. Bush and I approve this message," including even the Spanish language version (Soy George W. Bush y aprobé este mensaje)!
In this second round of ads, the campaign has stuck with "I'm George W. Bush…" but do Note the last screen of the ads, which reads "Approved by President Bush and paid for by Bush-Cheney '04 Inc."
Howie Kurtz wraps the new Bush-Cheney ads, alleging that the Kerry campaign will go on the air today with their response and that "these opening salvos in what promises to be a long and vituperative air war" coincided with a "coordinated assault" by Republican lawmakers on Kerry's recent off-the-cuff remarks. LINK
It remains to be seen if the Kerry campaign will actually produce this ad, buy time for it, pay for the time, and come up with something beyond a news-cycle-placement-holding video press release. As they say on NBC News' Today program: only time will tell.
The Chicago Tribune's Jeff Zeleny seems to think that the new Bush/Cheney '04 ads are likely to go unanswered, at least by the Kerry campaign. Matt Dowd said, "Right now, there's a window of opportunity where the public is paying very close attention, and they expect to hear both sides." Check out the Zogby comment on the visuals on terrorism. LINK
The New York Times' Rutenberg and Sanger write that the new Bush ads "are the latest example of the White House's willingness to take on Mr. Kerry directly, abandoning the campaign strategy of his father and other presidents who tried to stay above the political fray." LINK
Nick Anderson of the Los Angeles Times Notes that "the anti-Kerry ad may represent the opening of a new, rough phase of the campaign, with nearly eight months until the election," and that the ad marked "the first time an incumbent president was required to include a personal statement of approval in a commercial used to criticize an opponent." LINK
Under the headline "Liars, wimps & crooks: Welcome to the ad war," the New York Daily News' DeFrank reports that the first negative ad from the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign launches on Kerry as "a wimp on defense, a tool of the United Nations and itching to raise taxes." LINK
USA Today's Judy Keen writes, "It is rare for an incumbent president to take on his challenger this early. But Bush political advisers said they want to draw contrasts while voters are tuned in to the race." LINK
Dallas Morning News' Hillman Notes the BC04 campaign's "lengthy statement buttressing the ads" and also the Kerry campaign's "own lengthy rebuttal statement," that said President Bush was suffering a "'credibility problem.'" LINK