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Political ads

A comparison of recent Bob Dole and Bill Clinton public announcements

It seems only fitting that one of the most boring presidential races in recent memory would feature some of the most boring campaign ads in TV history. No single spot has commanded attention like the anti-Dukakis Willie Horton ad (and maybe that’s a good thing). After scrutinizing commercials for Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, we came up with these results:

BILL CLINTON
”Imagine”: ”Imagine — it’s 11 p.m.,” the announcer intones, ”and you know where your kids are.” Home, thanks to curfews supported by the Prez. (Lucky for him kids can’t vote.) The spot touts other soccer-mom policies (e.g., school uniforms) over images of sappy families. And no, John Lennon’s song is nowhere to be heard. C+

”I’m Voting”: Targeted at African-Americans, this ad features a parade of black Clintonites. The only Caucasians seen are Clinton and Gore (cited for feats like ”increased funding for black colleges”) and Dole and Gingrich (slammed for slashing spending). Clinton’s spots don’t mention minority-friendly Jack Kemp — then again, neither do Dole’s. B-

”Next Century”: Pure hokum. American flags, fireworks, and adorable babies accompany Clinton, who declares, ”I have done my best to take good care of this country.” A list of achievements makes for one bizarre juxtaposition, though, as the words Death penalty for drug kingpins are flashed over a shot of a little boy on a swing. C

BOB DOLE
”How to Speak Liberal”: A woman narrator (trying to close that gender gap, Bob?) translates Clinton’s ”I will not raise taxes on the middle class” as ”I raised taxes right on the middle class.” The attempt at sarcasm is welcome, but why can’t we hear — or see — Dole speak? B-

”Sorry – Taxes”: Another female voice assails Clinton for proposing 255 tax and fee increases. The ad concludes, ”The real Bill Clinton — a real spend-and-tax liberal.” That’s real repetitive — not to mention real redundant. C-

”Keep More”: Aimed at senior citizens, this Dole spot bombards viewers with figures and graphs. If we wanted pie charts, we’d watch Ross Perot’s infomercials. D