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Sipple’s Ad for the GOP on Dole’s Experience

June 6, 1996

Details of a biographical ad about Bob Dole that media strategist Don Sipple recently produced for the Republican National Committee:

Time: 60 seconds.

Title: ``The Story.″

Producer: Don Sipple and New Century Media Group for the RNC.

Text: (Dole) ``We have a moral obligation to give our children an America with the opportunity and values of the nation we grew up in.″

(Announcer) ``Bob Dole grew up in Russell, Kansas. From his parents he learned the value of hard work, honesty and responsibility. So when his country called, he answered. He was seriously wounded in combat. Paralyzed, he underwent nine operations.″

(Dole) ``I went around looking for a miracle that would make me whole again.″

(Announcer) ``The doctors said he’d never walk again. But after 39 months, he proved them wrong.″

(Elizabeth Hanford Dole) ``He persevered, he never gave up. He fought his way back from total paralysis.″

(Announcer) ``Like many Americans, his life experience and values serve as a strong moral compass. The principle of work to replace welfare. The principle of accountability to strengthen our criminal justice system. The principle of discipline to end wasteful Washington spending.″

(Dole) ``It all comes down to values; what you believe in, what you sacrifice for, and what you stand for.″

Key Images: Dole, tieless, speaking of values and his experience; black and white photos of soldiers carrying a stretcher from the battlefield; a photo of an ailing Dole, bandaged, in a hospital bed; Mrs. Dole; Dole meeting with voters; a waving American flag provides a segue to another shot of Dole speaking.

Goal: To tell voters the story of Dole’s perseverance in recovering from grave wartime wounds and portray him as a disciplined man committed to values forged in hardship.

Analysis: Sipple uses his first major ad of the 1996 campaign to cast Dole as someone who has the discipline to carry through on promises to reform welfare and improve accountability in the criminal justice system.

By tying Dole’s wartime service and sacrifice to his positions on issues important to Republicans, Sipple lays out a campaign theme that those who know his work say will continue through November.

The issues Sipple highlights in the spot _ welfare and the judiciary _ are among those where Republicans believe Clinton is vulnerable.

More subtly, the emphasis on Dole’s military service offers an unspoken contrast to the questions Clinton faces about his avoidance of the Vietnam draft. The focus on Dole’s ``hard work, honesty and responsibility″ contrasts with GOP charges that Clinton vacillates on issues and lingering questions about his business dealings while he was governor of Arkansas.

It remains to be seen whether someone who has served 35 years in Congress can convincingly claim they will change ``wasteful Washington spending.″ Raising Dole’s World War II service draws attention to the generation gap between Dole and Clinton.


Analysis by Kevin Galvin, Associated Press writer.

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