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Dukakis Lashes Back At Bush for ‘Lies’

October 21, 1988

BOSTON (AP) _ Democrat Michael Dukakis, whose television commercials so far have drawn little more than criticism, unveiled a series of fiery new ads Friday attacking his Republican opponents by name and calling their TV spots ″full of lies.″

″I’m fed up with it,″ an angry Dukakis says in an ad titled ″Counterpunch. ″ The governor is shown snapping off a television set showing a ″negative″ commercial for Republican presidential nominee George Bush.

″Haven’t seen anything like it in 25 years in public life,″ Dukakis says. ″George Bush’s negative TV ads - distorting my record, full of lies, and he knows it.″

Dukakis goes on to assert that both candidates support a strong defense. ″So this isn’t about defense issues. It’s about dragging the truth into the gutter. And I’m not going to let them do it,″ Dukakis says, striking the pose of a fighter.

Reflecting the candidate’s underdog status after months of broadcast pummeling by Vice President Bush, all four of the new Dukakis ads make some mention of Bush or his running mate, Sen. Dan Quayle.

The ″Counterpunch″ ad and a similar spot titled ″Differences″ also try to build a closer connection between Dukakis and the viewer than many of his previous advertisements, some of which were faulted as too abstract.

But even the most ″positive″ moments in the new advertisements lack the balloons, flags and traditional Madison Ave. touches.

There aren’t any suit coats either. Instead, Dukakis is shown in his shirtsleeves, speaking directly to the viewer as the camera moves to a close- up shot of his face.

Dukakis campaign aides said the messages would begin airing this weekend in ″battleground states,″ but they would not say exactly where or at what cost.

″These ads are about George Bush’s hypocrisy and the campaign of distortion George Bush has chosen to run,″ Dukakis spokesman Mark Gearan said. ″George Bush doesn’t want this campaign to be about his record, so he’s used lies and distortions and labels.″

Sig Rogich, ad director for the Bush campaign, defended the GOP commercials, saying: ″There’s nothing erroneous about any of those ads or the truth of the matter is the networks wouldn’t accept them. They check the facts and so do we. We stand by everything we have in our ads.″

In the final 2 1/2 weeks, the Dukakis campaign hopes to lash back at Bush and, at the same time, step out from the Bush onslaught and talk directly to voters. Plans call for Dukakis to grant lengthy television interviews and to buy chunks of prime time.

The new Dukakis ads include two blistering, flat-out ″negative″ spots - one aimed at Bush and Quayle, the other aimed at Bush’s advertising campaign.

In a spot titled ″Effort,″ a narrator savages the Bush effort to stop drugs from entering the United States while the screen shows black-and-white images of bundles of cocaine, children buying drugs and Bush meeting with Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega.

Shifting the attack onto Quayle, the ad goes on to ask, ″If George Bush couldn’t handle the job, how do you think Quayle is gonna do?″

The fourth ad attempts to rebut a Bush ad that depicts a revolving door in the Massachusetts prison system and reminds viewers that a convicted murderer fled from a Massachusetts furlough and terrorized a Maryland couple.

The Dukakis advertisement asserts that the Massachusetts furlough program was begun by a Republican governor, which is true, and that it was ″stopped by Mike Dukakis.″ But it does not mention that Dukakis bowed to public pressure and did not eliminate the program until faced with a referendum campaign.

Dukakis, who has called Bush ″cynical″ for making political hay out of a human tragedy, uses the same technique, turning the spotlight on the federal prison furlough system.

″Bush won’t talk about this drug pusher - one of his furloughed heroin dealers - who raped and murdered Patsy Pedrin, pregnant mother of two,″ the ad says, as the victim’s body is shown being removed from a house on a stretcher.

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