Concord, NH (CNSNews.com) - Just as poll numbers show Texas Governor George W Bush facing a potential challenge from Arizona Senator John McCain in the New Hampshire 2000 primary, the Bush campaign unveiled four 30 second television spots that are scheduled to begin running immediately.
The ads were produced by Maverick Productions of Austin, Texas. Joel Maiola, Bush's chief staffer in New Hampshire, said the company worked on past Bush elections and was also involved in past Clinton campaigns.
Maiola refused to disclose the cost of the ads, how much time has been purchased or how long the spots will run.
He also declined to discuss how frequently the spots would run, saying only "a lot."
Maiola did say the ads would appear only on New Hampshire station's, with ABC affiliate WMUR-TV, receiving the dominant share of the buy. The state has only three commercial television stations, with WMUR-TV having the greatest reach.
According to the Bush campaign the ads will not appear on Boston stations, more than a half dozen of which are seen in New Hampshire. Boston advertising rates are significantly higher than New Hampshire's.
The ads are titled "Successful Leader," "Hopeful," "Priorities" and "Every Child."
The spots feature themes and lines lifted almost directly from the governor's stump speech and are in large measure generalities designed to promote his "compassionate conservative" campaign theme.
The Successful Leader spot features an announcer characterizing Bush as "The Republican Party's best hope to win the White House," and goes on to tout the governor's role in reducing the size of state government, improving education and cutting welfare.
The second campaign ad entitled Hopeful features the governor's voice taking about voter cynicism and dirty campaign tactics. Bush is heard declaring he will run "a campaign that is hopeful and optimistic and very positive."
The Priorities spot features Bush talking about his top priorities, which include preserving social security and Medicare, strengthening the military and improving education, while the Every Child spot has Bush making "this solemn commitment...that every child will be educated," and that as president he will address failing school systems with "charters and choice." The governor also promises to change the Head Start program to one, which teaches children phonics and reading.
Maiola insisted the ads will "play well" in New Hampshire, especially the Priorities spot which addresses tax cuts and has been declaring Texas still has no personal income tax.
New Hampshire also has no personal income tax, although that might soon change. The state legislature recently approved the tax to help fund a nearly billion shortfall in public education.
Despite two recent polls which show the McCain campaign beginning to make gains on Bush, Maiola disputed the contention that the governor's poll numbers are eroding and insisted polls will go up and down between now and the February 1st primary.
Asked by CNSnews.com what advice has been given to Bush by New Hampshire U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg, Maiola's former boss and the governor's chief in-state supporter, Maiola responded, "It's the same advice since mid-June... to continue to make the case at the grassroots level."
When queried by the media as to why Bush has made only a half dozen visits to the state, as opposed to more than two dozen by McCain, Maiola said the governor has the luxury of being able to wage a primary fight nationwide, while other candidates lack the resources to do the same.
Many New Hampshire Republicans have said lately they disappointed that Bush has not made more visits to their state and have questioned his decision two recent debates. Despite the recent criticism Maiola insisted Bush has not ignored New Hampshire.
Maiola admitted the campaign experienced "a lull," due in part to the recent shootings in Texas, and insisted the governor will be spending more time in the state, beginning next week.