[FoRK] Going negative

jbone at place.org jbone at place.org
Mon Mar 15 11:02:55 PST 2004

Interesting Salon bits on one of the behind the scenes players...


Going negative
He's the father of the modern attack ad, and he's behind the Bush 
campaign's new wave of anti-Kerry spots. Alex Castellanos is known as 
vicious, irresponsible -- and effective.

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By Eric Boehlert


March 15, 2004  |  The Bush campaign launched its first negative attack 
ad on television late last week, earlier than in any presidential race 
in history. For an incumbent president to abandon the elevated 
surroundings of his White House Rose Garden so speedily reveals anxiety 
about an opponent ahead of or tied with him in the polls. Bush's 
30-second spot portrays Sen. John Kerry as "wrong on taxes, wrong on 
defense." It claims that he would raise taxes by $900 billion. (A Kerry 
spokesperson says the $900 billion number was "made up"; Kerry's plan 
is to rescind Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy.) Then the ad paints 
Kerry as weak on terrorism.

The Bush strategy is to unleash the heaviest round of negative TV ads 
ever in order to discredit Kerry before he can solidify his lead. 
Sitting on an unprecedented mountain of money, the Bush team is 
blanketing 17 swing states between now and the GOP convention in late 

Now, as the Republicans enter attack mode, it's prime time for Alex 
Castellanos -- the charismatic, controversial and confrontational 
Republican media consultant. Castellanos is the party's ultimate hit 
man, hired by the Bush-Cheney campaign to put his stamp on the contest. 

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