NASHVILLE - In his gubernatorial campaign's first television ad, U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp uses Volkswagen to underscore his promise to become the "jobs governor" and transform Tennessee into the "most dynamic economy in America."
"There used to be an old military site here, but I helped close it to pave the way for manufacturing," the Republican congressman from Chattanooga says in the ad, with the $1 billion VW auto assembly plant as his backdrop. "Now it's Volkswagen's new auto plant. Thousands of new jobs and growing small businesses. All part of the Tennessee Valley Corridor we built in East Tennessee."
The 30-second spot began airing on broadcast television outlets statewide Thursday morning. In doing so, Rep. Wamp becomes the last of the three major GOP gubernatorial candidates to go up on the air.
The Wamp campaign is spending in the neighborhood of $140,000 on this week's ads, three political sources said.
His ad, which largely dispenses with biography and doesn't say he serves in Congress, goes straight to a top campaign issue in the recession-wracked state - job generation.
With his sleeves rolled up, Rep. Wamp says in the ad that "my 20/20 vision is a blueprint to create production jobs like these all over our state. As your jobs governor, I'll be focused on your future. Together we'll build the most dynamic economy in America."
As he speaks, he holds a copy of his 20/20 "blueprint" on which is superimposed moving images of the congressman talking to various people who appear to be workers.
In a news release, the congressman sought to tout his own ad and belittle props used in recent ads from GOP rivals Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey.
"One of my opponents (Haslam) has a red umbrella, one (Ramsey) has a boot, but I am the candidate with a detailed plan to make Tennessee an even better state and create the most dynamic economy in America," Rep. Wamp said in the release.
Ramsey spokeswoman Rachel Taylor said in an e-mail statement that "it's unfortunate that Congressman Wamp never once mentions in his debut ad that he's been a U.S. Congressman for the past 15 years and that, in that time, he's netted himself millions of dollars of your taxpayer money for earmarks."
Mr. Haslam was the first of the GOP candidates to run ads on television.
"We figured the others would be up sooner or later (on television)," said Haslam campaign spokesman David Smith. "This doesn't really effect us. We've planned our work, and we are working our plan."
Rep. Wamp is referring voters to his Web site to see specifics on his "20/20 Vision For An Even Better Tennessee."
It provides what Rep. Wamp calls a "detailed plan" to crank up Tennessee's economy and boost the number of jobs based on what the congressman says are the state's strengths, regional assets and "distinct" advantages.