Republican National Committee

30 sec. TV spot run in 9 states starting Aug. 28, 2000.  (AR, DE, LA, MI, MO, OH, PA, WA, WI)

Cold Harbor Films

More Ads

Female Announcer: Under Clinton/Gore prescription drug prices have skyrocketed – and nothing’s been done. 

George Bush has a plan: Add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. 

Gov. Bush: Every senior will have access to prescription drug benefits.

Female Announcer: And Al Gore?  Gore opposed bipartisan reform.

He’s pushing a big government plan that lets Washington bureaucrats interfere with what your doctors prescribe.

The Gore Prescription Plan: Bureaucrats decide.

The Bush Prescription Plan: Seniors choose.

On the screen: Prescription bottles; Bush in front of American flag; Bush meeting with seniors; Bush speaking at podium; television with Gore on screen; graphic: "Interfere with doctors"; graphic: "The Gore Prescription Plan: Bureaucrats Decide"; graphic: "The Bush Rx Plan: Seniors Choose." 

Background:  "Priority" gained fame as the "RATS ad," because the word "RATS" appeared to flash on the screen, thereby sending a subliminal message to viewers.  "Priority" makes the point that Gore is putting forth a big government bureaucratic plan to address the problem of  high prescription drug prices.  "Priority" complements the Bush ad "No Changes, No Reductions."  Democrats challenged "Priority's" claim that, "George Bush has a plan" in their ad from the same day, "Siding."

The "RATS" story made the front page of the New York Times, and a couple of U.S. Senators even got into the act, calling on the FCC to investigate.1  However as RNC chairman Jim Nicholson noted in a news release of Sept.12 ("Health Care Spot About Health Care, not Rodents"), the "RATS" is a fragment of the word "bureaucrats" used as part of a "visual drumbeat" technique.  Nicholson also questioned why the New York Times was running the story on its front page, when it had already been reported by Fox News on Aug. 28. 

In fact, "Priority" has more problems than "RATS."  The spot is not very crisply produced.  First off, it opens with a trend line graph that has no markings or scale.  Secondly, for no clear reason,most of the images on the screen have soft-focus blurry edges.

1. The FCC's Enforcement Bureau did investigate and found in March 2001 that "no further action is warranted."