Culver ad: Branstad's record "not worth repeating"

Governor Chet Culver’s campaign launched its first television commercial of the general election:

Transcript:

When the Republican State Auditor says a Republican Governor ‘Cooked the books’ and “kept two sets of books”… you take notice.

As Governor Terry Branstad admitted, “the books were never balanced.”

The state was so broke they couldn’t pay their bills.

Branstad doubled state spending, raised the state’s sales tax, raised the gas tax, even wanted to tax social security.

Cooked books, deficit spending, increased taxes.

Terry Branstad, a record not worth repeating.

If Culver were in a stronger political position, he’d probably lead off with a commercial highlighting his own record–something like the ad his campaign briefly ran last fall. However, Branstad’s been above 50 percent in several recent polls, and that number needs to come down. Branstad has been offering Iowans an airbrushed version of his own record, and this commercial brings up what Branstad wants Iowans to forget. The Culver campaign presents supporting facts and background here.

After the jump I’ve posted the Branstad campaign’s reaction to this ad and the Culver campaign’s rapid response. Note that Branstad’s people are yet again lying about an alleged billion-dollar budget gap.

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Branstad launching statewide tv ads

Former Governor Terry Branstad’s campaign announced today that two television commercials will begin airing statewide on Monday, April 5. That’s two days before the first debate between the three Republican candidates for governor and about nine weeks before the June 8 primary.

The Branstad campaign will run this 60-second ad called “Ready”, which first aired during UNI’s NCAA basketball game last week, and this 30-second ad called “I Know Iowa.” The “Ready” ad intersperses Branstad’s campaign promises with testimonials about his character and talents. I can’t embed the 30-second ad here, but it features footage of Branstad with lots of different Iowans, as well as his campaign bus driving toward the state capitol building. The candidate himself does the voice-over for the shorter ad, and here’s my rough transcript:

Iowans are genuinely fearful and concerned, but also, people are hopeful. They know that we have the ability to come back. They’ve seen it done before. We can create 200,000 jobs. We can increase family incomes by 25 percent. We can reduce the size and cost of government, and we can make our education system the best in America. I love this state, and I love the people of this state, because I know given the opportunity, Iowans will always exceed expectations.

Both commercials convey the central theme of the Branstad campaign: he can lead Iowa out of tough times and back to greatness. I don’t see substance backing up Branstad’s campaign promises, but for the most part Iowa journalists are giving him a free pass. I question whether his Republican opponents will be able to make an effective case against him. Branstad probably will be the only candidate advertising on television for several weeks. It’s not clear that Bob Vander Plaats and Rod Roberts have the resources to run even two weeks of commercials statewide. Vander Plaats has a stronger potential grassroots network given his experience with Mike Huckabee’s campaign and the support of the Iowa Family Policy Center, but Roberts seems to be competing for the same conservative voters Vander Plaats is targeting.

What do you think, Bleeding Heartland readers?

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Branstad runs ad during UNI/Michigan State game

I just saw a commercial for Terry Branstad’s gubernatorial campaign during halftime of the University of Northern Iowa’s game against Michigan State in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament. That was probably a good way to spend part of Branstad’s campaign war chest. An enormous number of Iowans must be watching that game, though who knows how many were paying attention during the halftime break. To my knowledge, this is the first television commercial run by a Republican candidate in the governor’s race.

I’ll post the video if I can find it on YouTube. The ad includes short clips from Branstad’s “comeback” speech in which he announced his candidacy. It highlights his key campaign promises: creating 200,000 new jobs, increasing family incomes by 25 percent, reducing government spending by “at least 15 percent” and giving Iowa children a world-class education. The commercial also features testimonials from unidentified Iowans about why they support Branstad (“He’s done the job before and he can do it again,” “He’s honest,” “He’s just a good man,” and so on). The viewer also sees some classic rural Iowa footage of Branstad’s campaign bus on the road, snow-covered fields, a country church and so on.

I happen to be taping the game so that my kids can watch it tomorrow, so if I have time later I will do a rough transcript of the ad. If you’re watching live, please post a comment to let me know how many times you saw the ad run during the game.

UPDATE: I didn’t do the transcript, because I found the video and posted that after the jump. Click “there’s more” if you want to watch the commercial.

LATE UPDATE: The Branstad ad ran again on Sunday during the Michigan State/Tennessee game. Craig Robinson predicted (or perhaps got a heads up) that the Branstad campaign would have bought ad time during the Elite Eight game in case UNI advanced.

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