The candidate: Businessman Tom Knox
The ad: "Only One," a 30-second spot on Philadelphia broadcast and cable channels.
Producer: Trippi & Associates.
Script and images: Begins with a graphic that says "One Candidate/Tom Knox." Announcer: "One candidate, Tom Knox, is independent, spending his own money in his campaign so he can take on the machine politics that have failed Philadelphia." Knox is pictured talking with a couple at their kitchen table. The phrase "Only One" flashes onscreen. In the next frame, Knox is talking with a small group. Announcer: "Only one candidate, Tom Knox, is a successful businessman with a proven record as Ed Rendell's deputy mayor, getting the job done, balancing the city's budget." Knox is shown alongside Rendell and then conferring with a city official, along with news clips of his appointment as deputy mayor in 1992. A graphic says, "Want more police? Safer Schools?" Announcer: "Want to put more police on the streets and make our schools safer?" The picture dissolves and Knox, in an L.L. Bean-style barn jacket, is walking with police officers. Announcer: "Only Tom Knox will take on the party bosses and has a proven record of getting the job done."
Analysis: It is notable that Knox is attempting the logically tricky task of saying that he is at the same time both an outsider, "independent" of the machine, and a consummate insider who was at Rendell's side saving the city. Rendell insiders said Knox's role in fixing the city budget was smaller than the ad implies. For all the criticisms of the machine, it is a straw man here. Not even the most hardened Democratic ward leader would disagree with the need for an end to violence. - Thomas Fitzgerald