'I'm not a parent, but I play one on TV'
In addition to the "authorized and paid for" political disclaimer, perhaps Congressman Mark Green's commercials should include a disclosure, like other commercials, that says, "Dramatization."
Green acknowledges use of actors in new television ad
By RYAN J. FOLEY
Associated Press Writer
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republican Mark Green's campaign acknowledged Friday it is using actors in a new television ad in which the gubernatorial candidate criticizes admissions and tuition policies in the University of Wisconsin System.
The 30-second ad is scheduled to begin running statewide next week, said Green campaign spokesman Luke Punzenberger, who acknowledged the use of actors in response to questions from The Associated Press.
Green, a congressman from Green Bay, is challenging Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle in the Nov. 7 election and has made rising tuition in the UW System on Doyle's watch a theme in the campaign.
Doyle's campaign pounced on the revelation late Friday, hours before the two candidates were to square off in their first debate.
"U.S. Rep. Green can't find any real middle class and working families to buy the cheap distortions that he's spinning," said spokeswoman Melanie Fonder. "If you don't have any real Wisconsin families who support those distortions, I guess you have to find some make-believe ones."
The ad features Green and his wife, Sue, sitting next to two couples at a high school football game. One couple claims their son has been put on a waiting list for an unidentified UW school even though he was on the honor roll.
"They are letting out-of-state kids in who have worse grades than the Wisconsin kids who don't get in," one male actor says.
"I thought it was called the University of Wisconsin," a female actor says.
"It gets worse," Green tells them. "Jim Doyle raised tuition for Wisconsin families and actually cut it for out-of-staters."
Doyle's ads have used real Wisconsin voters to drive home his message.
In his first ad, nine citizens tout aspects of Doyle's record as their names are flashed on the screen. In another, Jody Montgomery of Verona holds her diabetes-stricken daughter to praise Doyle's stance on stem cell research and call Green "too extreme."
Green's ad on Friday takes aim at two major issues facing Wisconsin families: rising tuition and perceived difficulties getting into some UW campuses.
The ad refers to a June vote by the UW System Board of Regents to cut tuition for out-of-state students at all UW campuses except UW-Madison while raising tuition by 6.8 percent for resident students.
Regents said the cut in tuition was meant to reverse a decline in nonresident enrollment that was costing the UW System millions of dollars in tuition revenue. Those students still pay three times more than their in-state counterparts.
The ad also alleges that UW schools are admitting nonresident students ahead of more-qualified residents.
But UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley warned Green in a letter last week that "nothing could be further from the truth."
"At no point during our admissions process do residents directly compete against nonresidents for spots in the freshmen class," Wiley wrote. "Both applicant pools present impressive academic credentials and are evenly matched academically when ACT scores are compared."
To back up its claim, Green's campaign cites statistics showing nonresident students had lower school ranks and test scores than Wisconsin students in UW-Madison's freshman class.
Wiley said using those standards to suggest nonresidents are less qualified "is an apples-to-oranges comparison."
He cited different state high school standards, grade inflation in other states and the fact that many high-achieving high schools do not provide class rank.
© 2006 The Associated Press.