WASHINGTON -- Democrat John F. Kerry unveiled an ad yesterday claiming that President Bush's economic policies have moved US jobs overseas, and within hours, the Bush campaign said it would run a new commercial criticizing Kerry's record on taxes.
Kerry's ad, his first negative commercial of the general election, quotes the president's advisers as saying "moving American jobs to low-cost countries" is good for the economy and adds: "While jobs are leaving our country in record numbers, George Bush says sending jobs overseas `makes sense' for America."
Kerry's 30-second ad also details the economic plan by the presumptive Democratic nominee that he asserts would create 10 million jobs. The ad is due to start airing today in 17 swing states.
The Democrat's campaign has been spending about $2 million a week to run television ads on local broadcast stations and is expected to spend at least that amount to air the commercial.
That is less than one-third of what Bush spends each week to run ads on broadcast stations, excluding cable and radio buys.
Scott Stanzel, a Bush spokesman, said the Republican's ad will begin running this weekend on national cable networks and on local broadcast affiliates in 18 states.
Two independent Democrat-leaning groups, the Media Fund and the AFL-CIO, also announced new anti-Bush ads.
Kerry, a four-term Massachusetts senator, ran at least a dozen ads assailing Bush or his policies during the primary campaign. His first ad of the general election was a response to a Bush commercial that, Kerry argued, misinterpreted his tax plans.
The new commercial is meant to exploit one of Bush's weaknesses -- more than 2 million jobs lost on his watch -- while highlighting Kerry's recently released economic plan that focuses in part on keeping jobs in the United States.
Steve Schmidt, a Bush campaign spokesman, called Kerry's ad "factually false and deeply cynical," because, he said, Kerry has been quoted saying that his plan will not stop outsourcing and will not create jobs.
Going on the attack is more risky for Kerry than Bush because he is not as well known as the Republican incumbent and therefore could give voters an initial negative impression. Bush's campaign has been running ads meant to define Kerry as wrong on both the economy and national security.
While Bush never directly said that outsourcing jobs "makes sense," that phrase is included in the 2004 economic report of the president, which was released in February and which Bush signed. In a section about offshore outsourcing, it says:
"When a good or service is produced more cheaply abroad, it makes more sense to import it than make or provide it domestically."
When the report was released, Bush's chief economist also stirred controversy by suggesting that shipping US service jobs overseas could be good for the economy. N. Gregory Mankiw, the current chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, later said his comments were misconstrued.
Treasury Secretary John Snow drew criticism this week for similar comments in a newspaper interview.
The Media Fund ad, which will air in 17 states, questions Bush's plan to spend $87 billion in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking, "Shouldn't America be his top priority?"
An AFL-CIO ad running in 11 states assails Bush on jobs, juxtaposing statements he made in his State of the Union address with comments from Americans who say the president's efforts haven't helped them.