New MoveOn Ads Attack Bush's Record

July 7, 2008 - 8:30 PM

(CNSNews.com) - The liberal MoveOn.org PAC asked its supporters Monday to rate 17 potential television ads attacking President Bush, one of which will be aired during the Republican National Convention later this month.

The so-called "Real People" ads, which can be found on the MoveOn.org PAC's website, feature an assortment of individuals who claim to be former Bush supporters who have declared their allegiance to Sen. John Kerry, the Democrat nominee.

One of the ads attacks Bush for cutting education funding and veterans' benefits. Democrats have frequently used those two issues to criticize the president.

"They promise things like No Child Left Behind, and yet they cut educational funding. They say they're for the military, and yet they cut veterans benefits," says Ben Taylor, an information technology technician featured in one ad. "Come on. Let's solve some world problems instead of creating them. I'm a Republican, and that doesn't change. But I'm voting for those Democrats."

But based on Bush's latest budget, education spending would increase 35.8 percent in just four years, from $42.2 billion in 2001 to $57.3 billion in 2005. Likewise, the Veterans Affairs budget would jump 37.6 percent under his watch.

Another spot, featuring police dispatcher Kenneth Berg, criticizes Bush for not providing enough funding for local police departments.

"From what I have seen, homeland security, it seems to exists more in title than in anything else," Berg says in the ad. "Money has supposedly been allocated, but I don't see where. We don't have more personnel on the roads or patrolling our streets than we did before 9/11. My personal opinion, homeland security amounts to nothing."

Dating back to his 2003 budget, released months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Bush proposed a $3.5 billion boost to aid first responders, which the White House called a "10-fold increase" in federal resources. In Bush's latest budget, he proposes $3.6 billion for first-responder grants and $1.3 billion for state, local and hospital bioterrorism preparedness grants.

Those increases in spending are the subject of another spot. While Taylor criticizes the president for the alleged cuts and Berg claims Bush isn't doing enough, financial adviser Kim Mecklenberg takes issue with Bush's lack of fiscal constraint.

"I thought that Bush would be a fiscally conservative individual," Mecklenberg says in the ad. "I feel betrayed. I don't believe a government should be engaging in reckless spending. ... That's why I'm going to vote for John Kerry."

The ad makes no mention of Kerry's proposals, which one study claims would boost federal spending by $226 billion in the first year of his presidency. The National Taxpayers Union Foundation conducted the analysis, concluding that in five years, Kerry's proposals would result in a $734.6 billion increase in government spending.

The 30-second spots were devised by filmmaker Errol Morris, known for his recent movie, The Fog of War, about former Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara and the Vietnam War. That film won an Academy Award for the best documentary last year.

This isn't the first time a MoveOn.org-affiliated group has asked for input on a television ad. Earlier this year, the MoveOn.org Voter Fund gave its supporters the choice to vote for two ads comparing Bush to Adolf Hilter as part of its "Bush in 30 Seconds" campaign.

The Republican National Committee immediately attacked the group, prompting an apology. MoveOn.org Voter Fund founder Wes Boyd promised a "more effective filtering system" when the group posted ads on its website in the future.

Spokesmen at the RNC and MoveOn.org didn't return CNSNews.com's calls or e-mail messages Monday.

Many of the individuals who appear in the latest ads attack Bush's foreign policy agenda. Although most claim to be former Bush supporters, the MoveOn.org PAC makes no mention of one critic's affiliation with the Clinton administration.

"We need a foreign policy that is reflective of the genuine character of the American people, but also as a foreign policy that is going to protect our interests in the future," said George Moose, identified as a former assistant secretary of state. President Bill Clinton appointed him.

Several of the individuals are listed only by the city and state of residence. Three school teachers appear in the ads. Some of the others include a general contractor, a chief executive of a financial firm and a Marine who served in Iraq.

E-mail a news tip to Robert B. Bluey.

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