Chatterbox Takes a Leak

The Oct. 12 Washington Post carries an item saying that George W. Bush’s presidential campaign

has produced a series of mock ads attacking him and designed to look as if they were produced by rival Steve Forbes. The ads were shown to focus groups to determine where and how Bush might be vulnerable.

The fake attack ads cover issues such as taxes, education, and spending. Chatterbox, who recalls that Al Gore never fully recovered from a similar exercise in 1992 that ferreted out potentially embarrassing passages from his book Earth in the Balance–in that instance, the memo leaked to the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page–thinks the Bush campaign’s assessment of its own potential weaknesses is of great interest to the voting public. In that spirit, Chatterbox invites anyone who attended the focus groups–or anyone within the Bush campaign who has access to the same information–to alert this column to the fake ads’ contents. Verifiable leaks from rival campaigns (including, of course, Forbes’) will also be accepted. The source of the leak will not be identified; please note that Chatterbox’s e-mail tipline assumes the tipster requests anonymity unless otherwise stated. All entries must include a phone number where Chatterbox can reach the tipster to reassure himself that he isn’t dealing with an absolute nut.