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A weekly analysis of campaign commercials by President Bush and John Kerry.

DETAILS

TITLE: "Cheney-Halliburton," by Sen. John Kerry.

LENGTH: 30 seconds.

PRODUCER: Shrum, Devine, Donilon and Squier, Knapp, Dunn.

AIRING: Oregon, initially, before expanding to 12 other states: Maine, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Florida, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Nevada, West Virginia and Ohio.

SCRIPT

Vice President Dick Cheney: "I have no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind and haven't had now for over three years."

Announcer: "The truth: As vice president, Dick Cheney received $2-million from Halliburton. Halliburton got billions in no-bid contracts in Iraq. Dick Cheney got $2-million. What did we get? A $200-billion bill for Iraq. Lost jobs. Rising health care costs. It's time for a new direction. John Kerry. Stronger at home. Respected in the world."

Kerry: "I'm John Kerry and I approve this message."

KEY IMAGES

Ad opens with Cheney on Meet the Press. A document with what appears to be Cheney's signature on it and a large graphic of $2-million. A Boston Globe headline saying "Halliburton Unit Could Make $7-Billion." A fuzzy green picture of Bush and Cheney walking down a corridor. Kerry on the campaign trail.

ANALYSIS

This hard-hitting ad is Kerry's latest effort to turn up his criticism of the Republican ticket and question the character of both Bush and Cheney. Kerry aides say polls and focus groups suggest the Democrat can't win unless he undermines Bush's credibility. So, that's exactly what this ad tries to do.

Cheney has received criticism for his ties to his former company. The ad accuses the vice president of conflicts of interest stemming from money the vice president still receives from the company under a deferred compensation agreement, which isn't tied to the company's profits.

Cheney's not the only one to have accepted such an agreement. Other business leaders who move from the private sector to the public sector sometimes accept similar deferred compensation agreements.

The ad suggests bribery, although there is no proof that Cheney orchestrated no-bid contracts for Halliburton in exchange for his deferred compensation. The Bush campaign says Cheney has had no influence on the contracts.

The commercial also contends the company wasted taxpayer money that could have been used in the United States. In fact, several investigations have found evidence of overcharging or raised questions about the company's performance.

The $200-billion estimate reflects the campaign's calculation of funds already spent and money anticipated to be spent through next summer, based on a bipartisan congressional report. This represents the entire cost of combat and reconstruction, not just work by Halliburton.

Bush's campaign pointed out that Kerry's fundraising co-chairman, David Marchick, belongs to a firm, Covington & Burling, that was paid to lobby for a Halliburton subsidiary, KBR Government Operations.

DETAILS

TITLE: "Health care: Practical vs. Big Government," by President Bush.

LENGTH: 30 seconds.

PRODUCER: Maverick Media.

AIRING: National cable networks and select media markets in 17 battleground states.

SCRIPT

Bush: "I'm George W. Bush and I approve this message."

Announcer: "On health care. President Bush and our leaders in Congress have a practical plan: Allow small businesses to join together to get lower insurance rates big companies get. Stop frivolous lawsuits against doctors. Health coverage you can take with you. The liberals in Congress and Kerry's plan: Washington bureaucrats in control. A government-run health care plan. A $1.5-trillion price tag. Big government in charge. Not you. Not your doctor."

KEY IMAGES

Bush is shown approving the message. Then, a series of people _ a black woman, an elderly couple, a younger couple _ are shown sitting in front of computer screens as text of Bush's plan and Kerry's plan pop up on the screens.

ANALYSIS

Polls show Bush strong on national security and combating terrorism, but Democrats tend to get higher marks on domestic issues such as health care.

While Bush touts a plan for the next four years, he glosses over his health care record of his first four. While he's been in office, the number of Americans without health insurance has risen to nearly 45-million in 2003 from nearly 40-million in 2000. And, while he's attempted to improve the Medicare system, costs are soaring.

Democrats and others argue that Bush's health care policies have favored drug and insurance companies rather than everyday Americans.

Kerry plans to expand the existing health insurance system that federal lawmakers receive to private citizens through tax credits and subsidies. The government would help pay an employee's catastrophic medical costs if companies and insurers would agree to hold down premiums.

Bush's campaign argues that Kerry's plan actually would transform a system of private plans into a system reliant on "managed competition and government programs."

The Bush campaign uses a cost analysis of $1.5-trillion by the conservative American Enterprise Institute, which counts Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, as a senior fellow and their daughter Liz Cheney as a visiting scholar. Independent analysts have said Kerry's plan would cost $895-billion over 10 years.

DETAILS

TITLE: "Not True," by Sen. John Kerry.

LENGTH: 30 seconds.

PRODUCER: Shrum, Devine, Donilon and Squier, Knapp, Dunn.

AIRING: National cable networks and in rotation in local media markets in 13 battleground states: Maine, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Mexico, Oregon, Wisconsin, Florida, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Nevada, West Virginia and Ohio.

SCRIPT

Kerry: "I'm John Kerry and I approve this message."

Announcer: "George Bush's health care attack against John Kerry: Not true. The Kerry plan gives doctors and patients the power to make medical decisions, not insurance company bureaucrats. The Bush record: A $139-billion giveaway to the drug companies. A record 17 percent increase in Medicare premiums. Five-million more Americans without health insurance. George W. Bush: wrong on health care; wrong for America."

KEY IMAGES

Kerry is shown approving the message. A computer screen from Bush's ad is shown with the phrase "Bush Attack Ad." Images of doctors with children and senior citizens are shown. Kerry is shown on the campaign trail. The ad cuts to a picture of Bush frowning.

ANALYSIS

The commercial is a direct response to Bush's claim in ads and campaign speeches that the Democrat has proposed "a government-run health care plan." The Democrat argues that Bush is mischaracterizing his proposal.

The spot also is indicative of the campaign's latest attempt to question Bush's character. The Kerry campaign says polls and focus groups suggest that the Democrat can't win unless he undermines Bush's credibility. This ad suggests that Bush is lying about Kerry's proposal.

Kerry's plan calls for expanding the existing health insurance system for federal lawmakers to private citizens. The government would help companies and insurers pay an employee's catastrophic medical costs if the firms hold down premiums. But that's only a part of his proposal, and Kerry does not call for a government takeover of health care by any means.

The ad is accurate in saying that while Bush has been in office the number of Americans without health insurance has risen to nearly 45-million in 2003 from nearly 40-million in 2000.

And, while the president has attempted to improve the Medicare system, costs are soaring. However, Bush alone can't be blamed for the 17 percent increase in Medicare premiums. The premiums are updated annually by the Department of Health and Human Services under a formula that Congress must improve.

To back up its claim of a "$139-billion giveaway" for drug companies, Kerry's campaign relies on a 2003 study from Boston University that estimated an increase in profits of 38 percent _ or $139-billion _ for drugmakers over the eight-year life of the program.

But another study in 2004 by PricewaterhouseCoopers, as commissioned by the Pacific Research Institute, found that drug industry revenues would rise 3.2 percent at most and could even drop by 1 percent.

DETAILS

TITLE: "Economy: Common Sense vs. Higher Taxes," by President Bush.

LENGTH: 30 seconds.

PRODUCER: Maverick Media.

AIRING: National cable networks and select local media markets in some of the 17 states where Bush is on the air.

SCRIPT

Bush: "I'm George W. Bush and I approve this message."

Announcer: "President Bush and our leaders in Congress have a common sense plan to grow our economy and create jobs so small businesses can expand and hire. The liberals in Congress and Kerry's plan: Raise taxes on small business. 900,000 small-business owners would pay higher tax rates than most multinational corporations. Tax increases would hurt jobs, hurt small business and hurt our economy."

KEY IMAGES

Bush is shown approving the message. On the screen of a computer, text spells out Bush's economic plan. Then, several people are shown sitting in front of computer screens as text of Kerry's plan appears on their screens.

ANALYSIS

This ad is the second in a series that directly compares Bush and Kerry proposals.

The president's economic plan calls for re-employment accounts to help the unemployed with job search expenses, making tax cuts permanent, easing business regulations and pursuing more free-trade deals.

Republicans call it common sense; Democrats heartily disagree.

The ad paints Kerry as a tax-and-spend liberal. But there's only one area where he has called for an increase: He would roll back Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.

To back up the claim that Kerry would raise taxes on small business, the Bush campaign relies on two partisan documents: one by the White House itself and another by the Republican Study Committee.

Bush's campaign argues that many small-business owners file income taxes as individuals and not as small businesses, and that Kerry's proposed rollback, therefore, would affect them. But Kerry advisers say that only a small percentage of small-business owners would be affected.

The Bush ad also reminds voters that Republicans control not only the White House but also Congress. In that sense, it sends a message not only to re-elect Bush, but to ensure that the GOP maintains majority control of the House and Senate.

Analysis by Liz Sidoti, Associated Press writer.

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