Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Bush, Kerry halt campaigns, but ads will keep coming

By Carl Weiser
Enquirer Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - President Reagan's death means that Cincinnati TV viewers will get a break from political ads - but not until Friday.

President Bush and Sen. John Kerry have canceled all campaign events this week as a gesture of respect after Reagan's death. But both will continue airing ads until Friday.

"In keeping with the national day of mourning on Friday, we are ceasing public political activity including television ads," Kerry's Ohio spokeswoman, Jennifer Palmieri, said.

That marked a reversal from earlier, when Palmieri said the Kerry campaign would not pull its ads Friday, as the Bush campaign had pledged.

"Perhaps they feel the need to take down their ads because they're negative," Palmieri said earlier Monday. "Our ads are positive ads about what John Kerry will do to help create jobs and make health care more affordable."

Ohio is considered a key to the presidential election. According to the Wisconsin Advertising Project, which tracks political ads nationwide, Ohioans were getting pelted with 84 presidential ads a day back in March, the most recent figures the group has published.

Kerry canceled all campaign events, including a health-care event scheduled for later this week in Cleveland. The Bush campaign canceled several appearances by the vice president and first lady as well as several news conferences, Bush spokesman Kevin Madden said.

"We're not going to respond to any partisan political attacks this week,'' Madden said. "This week is dedicated to honoring the legacy of Ronald Reagan."

The Kerry campaign is airing two biographical ads, one titled "Optimists" and the other titled "Country." In them, Kerry talks about making health insurance more affordable and America more respected abroad. He does not mention Bush by name.

The Bush campaign ad airing this week, "Pessimism," touts recent good economic news and accuses Kerry of being pessimistic.

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