- The Washington Times - Friday, August 6, 2004

Democrats will begin airing a new television ad today that attacks President Bush on the economy as new employment numbers showed sluggish job growth last month.

“Millions of good jobs lost to plant closures and outsourcing. Yet President Bush protects tax breaks favoring corporations that move their headquarters overseas,” an announcer says in the ad paid for by the Democratic National Committee.

The ad rollout — which had already been planned for yesterday — coincided with yesterday’s release of job numbers by the Department of Labor, showing that the U.S. economy added 32,000 jobs in July, far short of the more than 200,000 new jobs that had been expected.

Democrats jumped on the new numbers, blaming Mr. Bush and his tax cuts for the sluggishness.

“The President keeps saying we’ve turned the corner,” Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said in a statement. “But unfortunately, today’s job numbers further demonstrate that our economy may be taking a U-turn instead.”

House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland criticized Mr. Bush for claiming “that his tax cuts would be an economic cure-all.”

“But the medicine he prescribed has led to a stagnant job market, crushing budget deficits, and weak wage growth,” he said.

Republicans were largely silent on the job numbers.

But House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Texas Republican, said the new “statistics show that our economy is moving in the right direction, but also there is more work to be done.”

“This month’s economic numbers highlight the need for Congress to act to prevent snap-back tax hikes on the American people,” Mr. DeLay said. “We must make the Bush tax cuts permanent, starting with the child tax credit, marriage-penalty relief, and the expansion of the 10 percent tax bracket.”

The DNC’s independent-expenditure office, which is barred by law from coordinating with the Kerry campaign, will spend $6 million over a week starting Saturday on TV ads in local media markets in 20 competitive states and on national cable networks — roughly what it has spent over the past week, its first on the air this year.

The Bush-Cheney campaign yesterday issued a new radio ad that assails rival John Kerry on taxes and terrorism. It has bought about $850,000 worth of air time to broadcast the new radio spot for more than a week.

The commercial accuses Mr. Kerry of talking tough on terrorism, while voting against funding for U.S. troops and proposing cuts in the intelligence budget after the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. The ad also claims that for 20 years Mr. Kerry voted to raise taxes but now says he will cut taxes on the middle class.

Mr. Kerry campaigned in Missouri yesterday, laying out his plan for “energy independence” that he said would lead to greater national security.

Clad in jeans and seated in front of a small cornfield, Mr. Kerry promoted ethanol and other grain-based fuels as a way to lessen dependence on foreign oil. He said energy independence becomes more important when the United States is at war, “the war on terror, where much of the focus of that war is in the Middle East.”

“Guess what else is in the Middle East?” Mr. Kerry asked. “Oil.”

To increase American energy production and reduce reliance on foreign oil, Mr. Kerry said he wants to create a $20 billion fund to finance research and development of alternative and renewable fuels. The fund would promote energy sources such as natural gas, coal and nuclear and renewable energy.

Mr. Kerry says one-fifth of the fuels powering U.S. cars and trucks should come from energy sources such as corn and soybeans by 2020.

If Mr. Kerry really wants alternative fuels to succeed, he should help pass an energy bill that’s stalled in Congress, Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said.

“He is blocking passage of the energy bill in the U.S. Senate that would decrease America’s dependence on foreign oil by allowing for drilling in Alaska and incentivize the production of alternative fuels like hydrogen, solar and wind,” Mr. Schmidt said.

Mr. Kerry opposes drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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