2000 Bush VS. Gore
The Living Room Candidate
"Question," Gore, 2000
[TEXT: Question: What happens when you promise the same money to two groups of people?]
MALE NARRATOR: Question. In politics, what happens when you promise the same money to two different groups of people?
[TEXT: GEORGE W. BUSH'S PLAN]
MALE NARRATOR: According to the Wall Street Journal, George W. Bush is promising young workers a trillion dollars from Social Security to put in private investments. That would threaten Social Security benefits for seniors. Bush is also promising seniors that same trillion dollars for their Social Security checks.
[TEXT: Question: What happens when Bush promises the same money to young workers and to seniors?]
MALE NARRATOR: So what happens when Bush promises the same money to young workers and to seniors?
MALE NARRATOR [and TEXT]: Answer: one promise gets broken.
MALE NARRATOR: Next question: which one?
[TEXT: Question: After November 7th, which promise gets broken?]
"Question," Democratic National Committee, 2000
Maker: The Campaign Company
From Museum of the Moving Image, The Living Room Candidate: Presidential Campaign Commercials 1952-2012.
www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/2000/question (accessed October 2, 2023).
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.
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.
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