A weekly analysis of campaign commercials by President Bush and John Kerry.
TITLE: "Wolves," by President Bush.
LENGTH: 30 seconds.
PRODUCER: Maverick Media.
AIRING: Local media markets in 14 battleground states and national cable networks.
Announcer: "In an increasingly dangerous world, even after the first terrorist attack on America, John Kerry and the liberals in Congress voted to slash America's intelligence operations by $6-billion - cuts so deep they would have weakened America's defenses. And weakness attracts those who are waiting to do America harm."
Bush: "I'm George W. Bush and I approve this message."
The ad shows a dense forest from above, then sunlight-speckled trees from inside. Shadows move through the brush before animals are seen. A pack of wolves rest on a hill. The wolves crawl toward the camera. Bush is shown briefly approving the message.
The ad is the 2004 version of Ronald Reagan's "Bear" ad that was credited with framing his 1984 re-election. In that ad, a bear signified the threat of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In this ad, wolves are symbolic of terrorists in 2004.
The ad's claim that Kerry proposed $6-billion in cuts to the intelligence budget after the first World Trade Center attack in 1993 lacks context.
Like other Senate Republicans and Democrats, Kerry sought reductions in intelligence spending after the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. He sponsored an amendment in 1994 as part of a plan aimed at reducing huge federal deficits.
To reach $6-billion, Bush's campaign has referenced a 1994 comment by Sen. Dennis DeConcini, D-Ariz., in which he says "the Kerry amendment includes a $1-billion cut in fiscal year 1994 and $5-billion over the next five years from intelligence activities."
While $6-billion appearslarge, it would have amounted to a small decrease in the intelligence budget over six years. Still, several of Kerry's fellow Democratic senators at the time warned that reductions in Kerry's proposal could hamper intelligence efforts.
TITLE: "Ever Since," by Sen. John Kerry.
LENGTH: 30 seconds.
PRODUCER: Shrum, Devine, Donilon and Squier, Knapp, Dunn.
AIRING: In battleground states.
Kristen Breitweiser : "My husband, Ron, was killed on Sept. 11. I've spent the last three years trying to find out what happened to make sure it never happens again. I fought for the 9/11 Commission, something George W. Bush, the man my husband, Ron, and I voted for, didn't think was necessary. And during the commission hearings we learned the truth: We are no safer today. I want to look in my daughter's eyes and know that she is safe, and that is why I am voting for John Kerry."
Kerry: "I'm John Kerry and I approve this message."
Family photos with father and infant daughter. Breitweiser talking directly into camera. Breitweiser and daughter in black and white.
The ability of the candidates to fight the war on terrorism in a post-Sept. 11 world is one of the overriding issues of the 2004 presidential race.
Breitweiser of Middletown, N.J., is one of four widows of men killed in the attacks known collectively as "the Jersey Girls." The women were instrumental in pressing for public hearings on the attacks.
Bush initially opposed the creation of an independent commission to investigate what transpired on Sept. 11 and why, but the families persuaded Congress to establish a commission.
Breitweiser provided the testimonial for the ad.
Analysis by Liz Sidoti and Emily Fredrix, Associated Press writers.