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Democrats Smell a Rat in GOP Ad

ByABC News
September 12, 2000, 7:05 AM

W A S H I N G T O N, Sept. 12 -- Vice President Al Gore is accusing Republicans of dirty tricks for running a television ad that flashes the word RATS on screen for a split second.

Ive seen the pictures from the ad, the vice president told reporters as he campaigned in Ohio today. I find this a very disappointing development. Ive never seen anything quite like it. I think the ad speaks for itself.

In a Republican National Committee commercial criticizing Gore on health care, the word RATS appears on screen for a brief moment before the full word bureaucrats appears.

But GOP nominee George W. Bush dismissed the notion that the visual effect was intended to subliminally manipulate voters, as the Gore campaign has suggested.

The idea of putting subliminal messages into ads is ridiculous, Bush told reporters this morning in Orlando, Fla. One frame out of 900 hardly, in my judgment, makes a conspiracy.

Ad Man Denies Dirty Tricks

The 30-second spot, which has run in several battleground states, touts the Republican candidates plan for adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare, arguing that seniors would have more control over their health care under Bushs proposal.

Under the Gore plan, the ad says, drug coverage would be run by bureaucrats.

Words flash on the screen to echo the announcers message: TheGore prescription plan: Bureaucrats decide.

As the announcer says Bureaucrats decide, the word RATS, in large capital letters, flashes on and off the screen just as thephrase Bureaucrats decide, appears.

Im responsible for the advertisements that are run in my name, Gore told reporters aboard his campaign bus in Ohio today. My staff would not do this.

But the man who crafted the ad for the RNC denied he was trying to send any subliminal messages.