Source: Nando News
Pubdate: 7 June 1998


WASHINGTON (June 7, 1998 11:32 a.m. EDT ) - The White House has demanded
that a television commercial featuring footage of President Clinton with an
actor's voice impersonating the president and criticizing U.S. drug
policies be pulled from television.

The ads, which run on such outlets as CNN, were placed by a Virginia-based
group opposing U.S. and U.N. drug policies called Common Sense for Drug

The ads contain authentic footage of Clinton delivering a speech at the
United Nations. The audio portion however has an actor's voice imitating
the president.

The ads are "public education messages," the group said in a written
statement Sunday.

"On June 8, President Clinton will address the United Nations about the war
on drugs," an announcer says, as the video shows Clinton walking up to the
podium at a U.N. general session. "This is what he should say."

As Clinton delivers a speech, a voice with a distinctive Clinton-style
drawl says: "Do you think the war on drugs is a complete failure? I do. Do
you think if we spend more money we'll win? Forget it."

A print message warns viewers that Clinton's voice is impersonated by an

"We've wasted $17 billion a year now. And, because we put hundreds of
thousands of people in prison for drug offenses, the prisons are too full,
so we put violent criminals out on the street."

A second print message appears stating: "Clinton is not really saying this,
but he should."

"Heck, we're causing more crime than we're stopping," the Clinton voice
concludes. "We need a drug policy based on common sense."

On Friday White House lawyers demanded that the ads be removed, threatening
with legal action.

The ads "completely misstate the president's position on the problem of
illegal drugs in this country," White House lawyer Meredith Cabe wrote to
the group.

"That advertisement violates a longstanding White house policy against the
use of the image of the president in advertising," Cabe wrote.

On Sunday the Common Sense president Kevin Zeese said the ads "will run,
and we will not be intimidated.'

"Out of our conviction that we need to open the debate on drug policy, we
emphatically reject your demand that we pull the ads," Zeese said in a
written statement.

The ads were produced by the same team that designed ads for the successful
medical marijuana initiative in California, which voters approved in 1997.

Copyright  1998 Copyright  1998 AFP