NBC's "Today" convened a focus group of movable voters from key battleground states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.
They were shown Bush's "Wolves" ad and Kerry's "Middle Class Squeeze" ad and they were asked to respond to them through dial meters and a Q&A session that followed. Brooks Jackson of FactCheck.org was then brought in to assess whether the ads were accurate or not.
On the "Wolves" ad, NBC's Matt Lauer said: "By the end, even those supporting Bush were not buying the ad." Jackson called it "a deceptive ad." He said first of all, it refers to the first World Trade Center attack in the 1990s, not the attack of 2001. In addition, Jackson said the cut in intelligence funding that Kerry was supporting amounted to less than four percent. "I think most people would call it a trim."
On the Middle Class Squeeze ad, Lauer said "undecided voters moved towards John Kerry then neutral. Bush supporters responded positively to the message of a new direction." Jackson said the tax break for companies that move jobs overseas has been in place for a long time. Jackson also said getting rid of it would not change much. As for the drug importation issue, Jackson said the Canadian drug supply is so small that it "wouldn't take the US long to clean off the shelves in Canada."
The fact checks had the effect of cooling voter movement on both sides.
Biden on CNN: "We went in here to stop weapons of mass destruction and we probably proliferated more conventional weapons than any time in history."
Chambliss on "Today": "The fact of the matter Katie is on April 10, 2003 the weapons were not there. That has already been confirmed by your network as well as by Fox News." NBC's Couric did not take issue with Chambliss' characterization of the NBC report.
Biden said the central issue is that Central Command asked for 380,000 troops and Rumsfeld said "we only need 40,000." Chambliss said: "This president has said from day one: Whatever the commander needs – we are going to provide it."
On ABC, Tucker Carlson came close to criticizing the President over the explosives story and said the story could be damaging for the President. "I think it does resonate," Carlson said when asked whether undecided voters could be swayed by it. "I think this is exactly the kind of story that is non-ideological that goes to the heart of how the Bush Adminsitration is prosecuting the war. This is exactly the kind of story that can move those voters."
Paul Begala said the Bush Administration had not reacted to the story well "They are kicking this story… The reason they're kicking the story because, as they say back in Texas, a hit dog barks."