Canton Repository

July 7, 2004

Kerry campaign airs ad filmed in Stark County

Copley Washington correspondent

WASHINGTON — A TV ad showing Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry speaking to a Stark County audience began airing Wednesday in Ohio and more than a dozen other battleground states.

“I’ve met workers who have been out of work for two years,” Kerry says in the 30-second spot as he walks among a crowd at Perry High School, where he held a town meeting June 25. He goes on to describe the woes of losing a job and pledges to make changes if he is elected president.

The “Ohio Workers” ad focuses on job loss, which Kerry aides believe is their most potent issue in Ohio. It is the first commercial Kerry has filmed in the state, which is expected to be one of the most hotly contested battlegrounds between Kerry and President Bush.

Based on its demographics and past elections, Stark County is considered a reliable indicator of how the nation as a whole might vote.

The ad shows the Massachusetts senator holding a microphone in his left hand and gesturing with his right hand. A prominent red-and-white banner that reads “A STRONGER ECONOMY FOR AMERICA’S WORKERS” is visible in the background.

“I’ve met Steelworkers and mine workers and autoworkers who are now laid off workers and some of them have told me what it’s like to have to unbolt their own equipment, pack it up, put it in a crate and send it to another country,” Kerry says. “Some have even told me what it’s like to have to train their own replacement. That’s wrong, and when I’m president we’re going to change that.”

One woman in the audience nods in agreement, while others clap as the ad closes.

Lettering in the ad identifies it as originating in Massillon.

Kerry criticized job losses during his visit to Stark County, including plant closings announced by the Timken Co. in Canton and layoffs at the former Hoover Co. in North Canton.

Earlier this year, Kerry urged the Bush administration to intervene in Timken’s plans to close three of its bearing plants in Canton, where the company said costs are too high. Both the administration and company have insisted that the closings are a business, not political, matter.

W.R. “Tim” Timken Jr., chairman of the company, is a major contributor to Bush. The United Steelworkers of America, the union representing Timken workers, has endorsed Kerry.

Democrats have blamed the president for the loss of more than 200,000 jobs in Ohio since Bush became president in 2001. In response, the administration has pointed to figures showing that the economic recovery has created more than 30,000 jobs in the state in the past six months.

The Kerry campaign said the ad is one of seven that began airing in Ohio and other states Wednesday. Officials did not say how long the ad may run or what it cost.

The Bush campaign was unavailable to respond to the ad.