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Republicans Upset Over Bush Plan to Use Reagan Images, Speeches in Campaign Ads

As the nation prepares to bury former President Ronald Reagan, Republican insiders fight among themselves over plans by the political team of President George W. Bush to use images of and speeches by Reagan in new television ads aimed at jump-starting a faltering campaign.

"They're disgusting," says one long-time Republican who participated in a focus group to preview the new television ads. "They dishonor the memory of Ronald Reagan and if President Bush allows these ads on the air I, for one, will not vote for him in November."

The ads, ordered up by Bush political advisor Karl Rove immediately after Reagan's death last Saturday, use images of Reagan and excerpts from his speeches in what one angry GOP conservative describes as a "callous attempt to tie George W. Bush to the legacy of Ronald Wilson Reagan."

One proposed ad even goes so far as to show Reagan saying "George, go out and win one for the Gipper." The clip comes from Reagan's speech to the 1988 Republican National Convention where the former President's request was to Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, in his successful 1988 run for President.

"I cannot believe our party would stoop to using Mr. Reagan's memory for such political gain," says another Republican who has heard about, but not seen, the ads. "This goes way beyond any moral or ethical bounds."
Last Updated: Jun 10th, 2004 - 08:36:24

FUBAR

Republicans Upset Over Bush Plan to Use Reagan Images, Speeches in Campaign Ads

By TERESA HAMPTON
Capitol Hill Blue Staff Writer
Jun 10, 2004, 08:15

As the nation prepares to bury former President Ronald Reagan, Republican insiders fight among themselves over plans by the political team of President George W. Bush to use images of and speeches by Reagan in new television ads aimed at jump-starting a faltering campaign.

"They're disgusting," says one long-time Republican who participated in a focus group to preview the new television ads. "They dishonor the memory of Ronald Reagan and if President Bush allows these ads on the air I, for one, will not vote for him in November."

The ads, ordered up by Bush political advisor Karl Rove immediately after Reagan's death last Saturday, use images of Reagan and excerpts from his speeches in what one angry GOP conservative describes as a "callous attempt to tie George W. Bush to the legacy of Ronald Wilson Reagan."

One proposed ad even goes so far as to show Reagan saying "George, go out and win one for the Gipper." The clip comes from Reagan's speech to the 1988 Republican National Convention where the former President's request was to Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, in his successful 1988 run for President.

"I cannot believe our party would stoop to using Mr. Reagan's memory for such political gain," says another Republican who has heard about, but not seen, the ads. "This goes way beyond any moral or ethical bounds."

As anger towards the proposed ad campaign builds, GOP leaders are urging the White House to scrap the campaign and destroy the ads before they become public. One longtime GOP consultant told Rove he was a "goddamned idiot" for even considering putting the ads on the air.

"Conservative Republicans are already unhappy with President Bush," the consultant said when questioned by Capitol Hill Blue. "It won't take much to make them stay home on Election Day."

National polls show Bush clearly in trouble with voters. A new Los Angeles Times poll shows the President trailing Kerry 51-44 percent with 60 percent of Americans saying the nation is on the wrong track.

The sliding poll numbers sent the Bush campaign media team into overdrive over the weekend to get the ads ready to show to focus groups on Tuesday but found the reaction overwhelmingly negative, campaign insiders say.

"Many Republicans are already nervous about the extreme negativity that the Bush campaign has engaged in so early in this campaign," says one GOP strategist. "Never before has an incumbent President gone so negative so early against an opponent. Following that with a cynical use of a former President that so many Republicans revere is not just unwise. It's just plain dumb and stupid."

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan has sent a message to the White House expressing her "extreme displeasure" at any attempt to use her late husband as a campaign tool in the Presidential campaign.

"That doesn't surprise me," says a GOP operative who served in the Reagan White House. "Nancy doesn't like President Bush. If he's smart, he'll tell Rove to burn the ads. George W. Bush doesn't want Nancy Reagan as a public enemy."

Some GOP consultants, however, defend the ads as a necessary tool in what is becoming an increasingly tough campaign.

"A Presidential campaign is war," says one, "and in a war you do whatever it takes to win."

But political scientist George Harleigh says the Bush campaign is stepping on too many toes that it will need in November.

"Ronald Reagan has achieved god-like status among conservative Republicans and you don't mess with his memory," he says. "If they are smart they will pull the plug on the campaign and order the ads destroyed. Unfortunately, the Bush campaign has not yet impressed us with its intelligence."

Copyright 2004 by Capitol Hill Blue

homepage: homepage: http://www.capitolhillblue.com/artman/publish/article_4667.shtml

Not to worry 13.Jun.2004 11:18

PHH

He can still use Mount Rushmore or the Statue of Liberty. He could do another top gun landing, the big stud.

you know america is in hell... 13.Jun.2004 11:48

this thing here

... when reagan looks better than shrub.

you know something is wrong when the late 70's and most of the 80's are hipper for the young (especially re. music and fashion) than the first few years of the twenty first century...

it is nothing but an expression of the complete nihilism our society feels about our present times. and what suprises me and scares me is how it is a completely unconscious and unnoticed expression of total nihilism. c'mon young people, wake up and notice your own motivations and attitudes. you listen to hip bands that sound like 80's music reruns because 2004 is such a great time to be alive? what does it say when the young, the YOUNG, start living in the past...

dude says 13.Jun.2004 14:06

????

"I cannot believe our party would stoop to using Mr. Reagan's memory for such political gain," says another Republican who has heard about, but not seen, the ads. "This goes way beyond any moral or ethical bounds."

------------

believe it, jack.

just one question, though. i thought the whole thing about reagan was, he didn't have no memory...

once again 13.Jun.2004 14:37

true conservative

Karl Rove got a bit of a reputation for being a clever strategist. This was clearly only applicable when compared to the Gore campaign of 2000. Everything since then has been a complete disaster and anyone with a brain can understand why. And here's the kicker, even with all their vote manipulation shenanigans they will have a hard time convincing anyone that GW got a 10 point turn around on election day. They have to keep those numbers close and yet they choose strategies which alienate more and more people. Of course they went negative, they have nothing positive to offer, or campaign from. Of course Rove is stupid enough to use Reagan as a political ploy. Of course Bush isn't smart enough to tell Rove to burn the ads.

"A Presidential campaign is war," says one, "and in a war you do whatever it takes to win."

Including, alienating all your voters apparently.

"Unfortunately, the Bush campaign has not yet impressed us with its intelligence."

Exactly, these were never people capable of an intelligent campaign. They simply capitalized on the even worse campaign strategies of Gore in 2000 (and of course, who can forget that Gore still won despite his horrible campaign).

Karl Rove 13.Jun.2004 14:45

has been quoted:

"George W. Bush is Reagan - Phase 3."

as long as they use a picture of a DEAD REAGAN 13.Jun.2004 15:03

boneswatch

as long as they use a picture of a DEAD REAGAN, perhaps laid out on a banquet table, it would reflect more accurately on the death cult of the Bush Skull and Bones administration.