Republicans fire first ads in year-long Presidential push

WASHINGTON - With the focus on the war on terror, the Republican Party kicked off its first advertising in the Presidential race to get George W Bush re-elected, in what is set to contribute significantly to an upbeat year for the ad industry.

The slow launch of the Republican's commercial, which depicts Bush as fighting terror as the Democrats snipe from the sidelines, comes after a series of attacks from his Democratic rivals in the primaries.

The campaign launches as Bush is in London this week for an official state visit, where the war in Iraq and the debate about the war on terror is at the heart of talks with Tony Blair, following yesterday's bombing in Istanbul, which blew up the British Consulate.

According to the New York Times, the ads show Bush during the last State of the Union address as he warns of the dangers that war on terror brings.

"Our war against terror is a contest of will, in which perseverance is power. Some are now attacking the President for attacking the terrorists."

Bush has come under much fire for his launch of the war in Iraq and his subsequent handling of it, but in the coming campaign his response to the September 11 terror attacks is still seen as one of this strongest cards.

The commercial will run first in Iowa, ahead of a Democratic debate scheduled in the state, before debuting in New Hampshire.

The New York Times said the party was spending roughly $100,000 for the initial broadcast of the 30-second ad. During the spot, the words "Strong and Principled Leadership" flash up on the screen before cutting to Bush before Congress, then flashing "Some call for us to retreat, putting our national security in the hands of others".

Jim Dyke, the Republican National Committee's communications director, said: "It's fine to say Iraq's wrong, Afghanistan's wrong. But what we're talking about is the safety of the American people and who's putting forth the policies to address it."

He added: "What we're going to start doing is point to the positive policies of this President and this party and present the sharp contrast in approach and also in tone."

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