Wisconsin stations air democrat ad on bush
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Posted on Mon, Jul. 21, 2003
Wisc. Stations to Air Dems Ads on Bush
MADISON, Wis. - Three Wisconsin television stations will air Democratic ads that accuse President Bush of misleading Americans about Iraq's weapons program despite a request from Republicans not to run the spots.
The ads show the president, in his State of the Union address, making the now-disavowed statement about Saddam Hussein seeking uranium from Africa for a nuclear weapons program. The Democratic National Committee paid about $20,000 to air the ads on stations in Madison, Wis., a strongly liberal college town.
The Republican National Committee had urged broadcasters not to show the ad, arguing that is is "deliberately false and misleading."
Tom Bier, station manager of CBS affiliate WISC, said the station decided the spot was no worse than any other political ad. It was scheduled to air just after midnight Monday.
"We just see it's part of a good, robust First Amendment issue that, frankly, the public is very aware of," Bier said.
ABC affiliate WKOW also was scheduled to begin airing the ad this week, as was NBC affiliate WMTV. Fox affiliate WMSN was still weighing its decision.
Republicans complained that the ad selectively quotes Bush's address, distorting his comments.
"The Democratic National Committee certainly has a legitimate First Amendment right to participate in political debate, but it has no right to willfully spread false information in a deliberate attempt to mislead the American people," the Republicans said.
Kerry Johnson, sales manager at WKOW, said the DNC is standing behind the claims in the ad, while Republicans have yet to prove the spot is false and misleading. "It's not up to us to prove anything right, wrong or indifferent," Johnson said.
David Ford, the general manager of Fox affiliate WMSN, had asked Democrats for a response to the Republican complaints. He was reviewing the response with attorneys and planned to make a decision on running the ad later, he said.
Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Lieberman launched a petition drive Monday urging President Bush to break the congressional gridlock over extending the child tax credit to more low-income families.
More than 25 million middle-income families are expected to begin receiving $12 billion in rebate checks later this week, thanks to the tax cut Bush signed in May, which increased the child tax credit from $600 to $1,000 per child.
But Congress has yet to agree on how to make the credit more generous for the roughly 6.5 million families who do not pay enough income tax to take advantage of the bigger credits.
"Twelve million kids whose working families need those checks most are not going to get them because of a failure of leadership by the president and just bad, upside-down priorities by the Republican leadership in Congress," Lieberman said in a phone interview.
The House and Senate have passed bills allowing minimum-wage families to take advantage of the credit, but lawmakers have been unable to reach a compromise. With the first batch of checks to be mailed Friday - the same day House members start their summer recess - time is running out.
Bush has urged House leaders to support the Senate version, which would expand the credit for families making more than $10,500 and less than $26,000. Starting in 2008, married couples making up to $115,000 would be able to claim the full credit, as could couples making up to $150,000 in 2010.
But the House instead approved extending the credit through the decade, adding bigger credits for military families and allowing some families making up to $150,000 per year to benefit, for a total cost of $82 billion.
In addition to collecting names through e-mails to supporters and a form on his Web site, www.joe2004.com, Lieberman also has organized petition drives in New Hampshire, Iowa, Arizona, South Carolina, Oklahoma and New Mexico.
Lieberman said he plans to continue the petition drive this week, possibly longer, and then send the results to the White House.
Separately, Lieberman said he is determined to boost his presence on the Internet, a week after lower-than-expected fund-raising numbers led to a shake-up in his campaign team.
"We haven't been aggressive enough in taking advantage of the opportunities of the Internet, both for political and fund-raising purposes," Lieberman told the Associated Press. "So now we're trying to reach out and engage people, both on foot and online. We have a pretty good Web site - we need to do a better job using the Web site and bringing people to it."
Last week, Lieberman's campaign reported raising just $5.1 million in the second quarter, putting him in fourth place among Democratic presidential contenders. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who has waged an aggressive Internet campaign, raised $7.6 million in the same quarter, much of it online.
Associated Press Writer Holly Ramer in Concord, N.H., and Beth Fouhy in San Francisco contributed to this report.
ON THE NET
Democratic National Committee: http://www.democrats.org/
Republican National Committee: http://www.rnc.org/