A kinder, gentler County Executive Gorski is starring in a new series of television ads designed to emphasize his administration's accomplishments -- and climb out of a 21-point hole in the polls.
Gorski insists the new commercials in no way represent an about-face in his earlier attacks on Republican opponent Joel A. Giambra, which Giambra and even viewers in general had criticized as highly negative.
Instead, they are "part of a plan" devised by his campaign over a series of months, he said, adding that time had come for a new tack in his television approach -- emphasizing his role in cutting welfare rolls and freezing taxes.
"The thought is to let the public know what we have done and what we will do," Gorski said Monday. "It's a concerted effort of speaking to the merits of what I think is one of the finest local governments in the nation."
Gorski said that he does not think that his earlier approach "backfired" and reiterated that the attack ads were part of what other sources label a plan to define Giambra on the Gorski campaign's terms. Gorski said Monday that this aspect was justified.
"If I am being accused of being here for 12 years notwithstanding my accomplishments, then the public should know about his 21 years of improprieties and lack of responsibility," Gorski said.
The new commercials, which were filmed in Philadelphia last week and began running over the weekend, consist of 30-second shots of a relaxed Gorski addressing his constituents. One begins with a frank recognition of what many experts say represents his main problem -- his 12-year incumbency.
"Some people say I've been in office too long. Twelve years is a long time, but look at what we've done," Gorski says in the ad. "We've cut welfare, cut the bureaucracy. We're eliminating the debt, continuing to cut taxes and creating 21st-century jobs."
A companion ad echoes many of those claims, while seizing directly on a key Giambra theme -- the need for young people to leave to find meaningful jobs.
"Every day, I'm working to keep our kids here," Gorski says. "It's your decision. It's our children's future."
But Giambra said his own new spate of ads, set to debut this week, will focus on the same concept. His new effort will expand on his February campaign announcement at Buffalo Niagara International Airport decrying the fact that graduates must leave the area to find jobs.
"We'll be showing factual information about what took place in the last 12 years vs. what happened in the rest of the country," Giambra said.
Deputy County Executive James P. Keane, meanwhile, said Giambra's "railroad track" ad displaying a long list of firms leaving the area is a "tremendous distortion" because so many factors combined to cause the relocations. "Last October, Joel was telling everybody to vote for Gov. Pataki because everything was fine," he said. "That was when a Republican was running. This year, it's a Democrat, and it's a different tune."