National Party Issue Ads
Democratic National Committee
"Why" (Nov. 2, 2000)
"Course" (Nov. 2, 2000)
"Oh Sure" (Oct. 28, 2000)
"Myth" (Oct. 25, 2000)
"Niños" (Spanish) (Oct. 23, 2000)
"Promise" (10 states, Oct. 18, 2000)
state specific:
  "Aprons" (MI, WI, MO, WV, Oct. 10, 2000)
  "Don't" (Iowa, Oct. 10, 2000)
  "Needle" (Seattle, Oct. 10, 2000)
  "Everglades" (Florida, Oct. 10, 2000)
"College for Latinos" (Spanish) (Oct. 2000)
"Oil and Water" (Sept. 27, 2000)
"Accountability" (coord. expend. Sept.16 or 17, 2000) >
"National Minimum" (Sept. 15, 2000)
"Judge" (Sept. 5, 2000)
"Middle" (Sept. 1, 2000)
"Siding" (Aug. 28, 2000)
"Environment" (during Rep. Nat'l Conv.)
"Indeed" (during Rep. Nat'l Conv.)
"Always" and "Sure" (July 31, 2000--during Rep. Nat'l Conv.)
"Cheney" (July 30, 2000--during Rep. Nat'l Conv.)
"Protect" (July 10, 2000)
"Starts" (June 29, 2000)
"Al Gore y Los Democratas" (June 20, 2000)
"Patient's" (June 19, 2000)
"Fatherhood" (June 15, 2000)
"Prescription Drugs" (June 8, 2000)

$1.5 million African American ad campaign (radio and print) launched on Oct. 13, 2000:  "Profiling"
"Bush & Health Care" (state specific versions for IA, WI, NH, MI and PA, Oct. 13, 2000)

Republican National Committee
"Para Sentirse Mejor" (Spanish) (Oct. 31, 2000)
West Virginia ad (Oct. 30, 2000)
"Iacocca" (Michigan, Oct. 25, 2000)
"Solvent" (22 states, Oct. 24, 2000)
"Newspapers" (22 states, Oct. 24, 2000)
"Nuestros Hijos" (Spanish) (7 states, Oct. 19, 2000)
"Big Relief vs. Big Government" (21 states, Oct. 9, 2000)
"Gore-gantuan" (21 states, Oct. 9, 2000)
"Education Recession" (17 states, Sept. 24, 2000)
"Notebook" (17 states, Sept. 19, 2000)
"Federal" (starting in 7 states, Sept. 13, 2000)
"Let's See/Education" (starting in MI and PA, Sept. 8, 2000)
"Really" (16 states, Sept. 1, 2000)
"Priority" (9 states, Aug. 28, 2000)
"Agenda" (17 states, Aug. 8-13, 2000)
"Expect More" (20 states, week of July 17, 2000)
"This Generation" (Spanish) (New Mexico, June 19, 2000)
"Soc. Sec. Leader" (17 states, June 12, 2000)

Four radio ads aimed at black voters airing on urban stations in a $1 million campaign from Oct. 10, 2000 to Election Day.
"The Way Republicans Seem"  | "School"  |  "Hey"  |  "Power"

The Democratic Issue Ad Campaign

Nov. 2, 2000

Nov. 2, 2000

"Oh Sure"
Oct. 28, 2000

Oct. 25, 2000

Oct. 18, 2000

"Oil and Water"
Sept. 27, 2000

"National Minimum"
Sept. 15, 2000

Sept. 5, 2000

Sept. 1, 2000

Aug. 28, 2000

Aug. 2000

Rep. Nat'l Conv.

Rep. Nat'l Conv.

Rep. Nat'l Conv.

Rep. Nat'l Conv.

Rep. Nat'l Conv.

July 10, 2000

June 29, 2000

"Al Gore y los Demócratas"
June 20, 2000

June 18, 2000

June 15, 2000

"Prescription Drugs"
June 8, 2000

The Republican Issue Ad Campaign

"Para Sentirse Mejor"
Oct. 31, 2000

Oct. 24, 2000

Oct. 24, 2000

"Nuestros Hijos"
Oct. 19, 2000

"Big Relief vs. Big Gov't"
Oct. 9, 2000

Oct. 9, 2000

"Education Recession"
Sept. 24, 2000

Sept. 19, 2000

Sept. 13, 2000

"Let's See/Education" 
Sept. 8, 2000

Sept. 1, 2000

Aug. 28, 2000

Aug. 8, 2000

"Expect More"
July 17, 2000

"This Generation"
June 19, 2000

"Soc. Security Leader"
June 12, 2000

What's It All About
In early June the national parties began running the first of the so-called "issue ads."  Contentwise, there is little to distinguish these ads from ads put out by the presidential campaigns themselves other than the fact that the disclaimer says "Democratic National Committee" or "Republican National Committee" rather than "Gore 2000, Inc." or "Bush for President, Inc."1  The presidential candidates and their proposals feature prominently.  However, because issue ads ostensibly serve a party-building purpose, the parties can fund this type of ad with soft money, like that raised in their record-breaking $20 million-plus fundraisers. 

Issue ads fill a gap in the period between the end of the primaries  and the national conventions when the campaigns are not on the air . The precedent for pre-convention issue ad activity was set in the 1996 campaign.  Despite the hue and cry raised about abuses in that campaign, the rules governing this area have not been changed.2

The net effect of issue ads is to render spending limits meaningless.  As a condition for receiving federal matching funds in the primaries, the Gore campaign was subject to a spending cap (the Bush campaign did not have such restrictions).  In the general election, the campaigns may not spend more than the $67.56 million grant.  In addition, the parties can spend $13.68 million in coordinated expenditures on behalf of their nominees.  When the parties can spend tens of millions more on candidate ads masquerading as issue ads, such limits have no meaning. 

1. David Magleby examines whether voters can distinguish between candidate advocacy and issue advocacy ads in "Dictum Without Data: The Myth of Issue Advocacy & Party Building."  Center for the Study of Elections & Democracy at Brigham Young University, Nov. 13, 2000.

2. On Sept. 13, 2000, Fred Wertheimer, President of Democracy 21, Scott Harshberger, President of Common Cause, and Archibald Cox, former Watergate special prosecutor, sued the FEC in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, taking the agency to task for failing to address the legality of coordinated soft money ads.  The suit charged that, "The Gore and Bush campaigns, by coordinating with their respective political parties on advertisements paid for by the parties to further their candidate's election, appear to be violating...the [Presidential Election Campaign] Fund Act."  Democracy 21 and Common Cause also filed a complaint with the Justice Department on July 27, 2000 calling for an investigation of the 2000 soft money ads.  The complaint states that "the ads violate the federal campaign finance laws and will result in as much as $100 million or more in illegal funds being raised and spent in the 2000 presidential election, if the practice is not stopped."

See also
Spending in the Presidential Race--Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law and University of Wisconsin-Madison (Sept. 19, 2000)