2000 Bush VS. Gore

"Matters"

Transcript

Museum of the Moving Image
The Living Room Candidate
"Matters," Gore, 2000

[TEXT: Al Gore]

GORE: In this election, the environment itself is on the ballot. And there's a big difference between us. I'll never put polluters in charge of our environmental laws. I've worked for twenty-four years to protect our air and water and to hold polluters accountable. And I believe that if we act now we can reverse the tide of global warming. I hear some people say, you know, this election doesn't really matter. It does matter. Our air and water are at stake, and I need your help to protect them.

[TEXT: Al Gore for President]

Credits

"Matters," Democratic National Committee, 2000

Maker: Democratic Victory 2000

Video courtesy of the Democratic National Committee.

From Museum of the Moving Image, The Living Room Candidate: Presidential Campaign Commercials 1952-2012.
www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/2000/matters (accessed November 28, 2014).

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2000 Bush Gore Results

Domestic concerns were at the heart of the 2000 presidential campaign as Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George W. Bush sparred over a relatively small group of key issues, including prescription drug plans for senior citizens, the future of Social Security, education, and the economy. Each side claimed that the other’s economic plan would result in increased deficits. Gore’s commercials claimed that Bush’s planned tax cuts were irresponsible, and Bush’s commercials claimed that a Gore administration would squander the budget surplus through big spending, bringing back the days of high deficits. With the economy in good shape, and with the public seemingly uninterested in foreign affairs, the election was a battle for the center. The commercials for both campaigns attempted to create warm images of their candidates with soft background music.

Conspicuously missing from the commercials was reference to the sex scandal and impeachment that marred the last two years of the Clinton presidency. The election was the closest in American history, determined by a margin of just 537 votes in Florida. A series of intense legal battles over the Florida recount was not resolved until a controversial 5-4 Supreme Court decision 36 days after the election.

Republican
George W. Bush for president
Dick Cheney for vice president

"A Fresh Start"

George Bush’s commercials were designed to reinforce his image as a "compassionate conservative" with their focus on domestic issues and frequent images of seniors and children. Since the end of the Cold War in 1989, the traditional Republican focus on foreign policy and the need for military strength had virtually disappeared from presidential campaigns. With an emphasis on pocketbook issues, Bush’s commercials were filled with facts and figures onscreen, using statistics, graphs, and charts to demonstrate fiscal responsibility. The use of "attack" ads was relatively mild; clearly, the commercials were designed to reach undecided voters who might very well have been turned off by vicious, polarizing rhetoric.

Democrat
Al Gore for president
Joe Lieberman for vice president

"Prosperity for America's Families"

Al Gore’s commercials featured the candidate speaking in gentle, soothing tones, perhaps to counter the stiffness of his image. However, they failed to demonstrate any major difference between the two candidates. For example, the commercial "Accountability" began with Gore saying, "George Bush and I actually agree on accountability in education." Since the idea of accountability was the basis of Bush’s education proposals, the commercial actually may have benefited Bush more than Gore. While a number of Gore commercials challenged Bush’s record as Texas governor and the fairness of his tax-cut proposals, most of them relied on statistics rather than emotions, and their impact was weak.

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