2000 Bush VS. Gore
The Living Room Candidate
"Really MD," Bush, 2000
FEMALE NARRATOR: Well, there's Al Gore, reinventing himself on television again. Like I'm not going to notice? Who's he going to be today? The Al Gore who raises campaign money at a Buddhist temple? Or the one who now promises campaign finance reform? Really. Al Gore, claiming credit for things he didn't even do.
AL GORE: I took the initiative, in creating the internet.
FEMALE NARRATOR: Yeah, and I invented the remote control, too. Another round of this and I'll sell my television.
"Really MD," Republican National Committee, 2000
Maker: Cold Harbor Films
Original air date: 08/31/00Video courtesy of the Republican National Committee.
From Museum of the Moving Image, The Living Room Candidate: Presidential Campaign Commercials 1952-2012.
www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/2000/really-md (accessed February 23, 2024).
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