- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 7, 2006

Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Joe Lieberman yesterday supported a television campaign promoting video-game ratings, as the senators spoke out against juvenile exposure to violence and sexual aggression.

The public service announcements (PSAs), funded by the Entertainment Software Rating Board, show a parent and a child telling parents to pay attention to the ratings, which indicate the level of questionable material in video games, including violence, language and sexual content.

“These PSAs are a great gift for parents,” Mrs. Clinton said. “They provide information to help parents provide a healthy environment for their children.”

Douglas Lowenstein, president of the Entertainment Software Association, said the campaign’s sponsors approached Mrs. Clinton, New York Democrat, and Mr. Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, asking them to continue their pattern of supporting the ratings.

The promotion of the ads, which will air on more than 800 stations throughout the holiday shopping season, came amid high expectations that Mrs. Clinton is preparing for a presidential campaign.

Mrs. Clinton’s decision to promote the video-game campaign with Mr. Lieberman was a smart move, said Norman Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

“It’s a very adroit move to find an issue in which she can work with Mr. Lieberman after this past election,” he said. Mrs. Clinton supported Mr. Lieberman’s Democratic opponent after he lost a primary bid and ran as an independent.

Mr. Ornstein, however, said he was not sure whether Mrs. Clinton’s supporting the television campaign was a “conscious campaign effort” to make her more appealing to conservatives.

“The idea of sort of being offended by some of the coarsening elements of the culture is not as ideological as people assume,” he said. “It would not surprise me if Mrs. Clinton had just sort of seen some of the violence and was offended by it.”

Brian Darling, director of Senate relations for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, said Mrs. Clinton’s support of the campaign showed she shares the feelings of parents who want to protect their children from violent video games.

“I don’t assume that everything Senator Clinton is doing is political, but clearly, because so many parents care about this issue, this would certainly help for Senator Clinton to promote the perception that she is a moderate Democrat,” he said.

Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Lieberman are not strangers to fighting video-game violence. Mrs. Clinton introduced legislation she sponsored with Mr. Lieberman and Sen. Evan Bayh, Indiana Democrat, last December that would fine stores that sell video games with mature, adults-only or pending ratings to anyone under age 17.

The legislation is still awaiting the action of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, according to a Clinton staff member.

Companies such as Best Buy, GameStop, Target and Wal-Mart voluntarily impose restrictions prohibiting their stores from selling games rated mature or above to anyone under age 17.

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