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Ad Watch: "This Election"

Rosalind Helderman

As the ads begin running in the governor's race, we'll be analyzing the commercials, picking apart claims made by the campaigns and analyzing messages they are intending to send. First up, Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds, whose first ad of the general election campaign began airing Friday.

Script:
Male Narrator: "Creigh Deeds says we need to keep Virginia moving forward with the pro-business economic policies Mark Warner put in place ... and not go backwards by embracing the failed economic policies of George W. Bush.

Deeds: I'm not going to stand by and let anyone take us back. That's why my economic plan starts with tax cuts for any business that creates one new job. It has responsible investments in transportation and schools ... and performance audits of all government spending ... because I believe Virginia 's brightest days are ahead."

Images:
The ad several images of Deeds looking straight at the camera and speaking, against a clean,white backdrop. Deeds walks through a sunlit corporate hallway, talking with Sen. Mark Warner. A shuttered, empty factory is shown while the narrator discusses George Bush. Deeds is shown speaking to a group of young people, examining the building plans for a new house with a helmeted construction worker and studiously taking notes on a yellow legal pad.

Analysis:
The ad is an introductory foray, entirely positive and without mention of opponent Republican Bob McDonnell. The white backdrop images echo surprisingly effective ads Deeds ran during the primary and are intended to provide continuity with his come-from-behind victory in that race. Deeds himself speaks in the commercials, a contrast for the rural senator with the marked southern drawl from ads run during the primary.

The clip with Warner is designed to link Deeds to the wildly popular former governor. Notably, current Gov. Tim Kaine does not appear. The swipe at Bush lays groundwork for an attack on McDonnell sure to appear in future ads for recent comments praising Bush's economic policies.

In the ad, Deeds promises performance audits of government spending, which he has promised will begin with the troubled Virginia Information Technologies Agency and says will save the state money. He also promises a tax cut for businesses that create jobs.

Here are the specifics on that proposal: Deeds says he will to give every business a credit on state taxes equivalent to the increase in their federal payroll taxes incurred by adding the new salary to the payroll for two years.

Say a business adds an employee and pays him or her $50,000 a year. The business would owe the federal government $3,825 more in taxes to cover the employer's share of social security and medicare costs. Under Deeds plan, the employer would get an equivalent state tax credit.

The campaign says this proposal would be revenue neutral because the new worker will pay enough back to the state in income taxes and sales tax on goods they can buy with their new salary to cover the costs.

McDonnell has also proposed tax credits for businesses that create jobs. McDonnell's plan would expand a program instituted under then Gov. George Allen that gives businesses a $1,000 tax credit per job if they add 100 new jobs or 50 new jobs in economically depressed areas.

McDonnell would lower those thresholds, offering the tax to companies that create 50 new jobs everywhere or 25 in economically depressed areas. He uses the same logic as Deeds to suggest that the program would pay for itself as the economy expands but says the $1,000 per job pricetag.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  August 26, 2009; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Campaign Ads , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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