And it is easy to predict Bush's response to any Kerry criticism about Iraq: "My
opponent is too pessimistic," the President will say. "See, what he doesn't
understand is that the President of the United States has to stand firm. We
can't show weakness. And we won't on my watch." Unless Kerry can come off with a
succinct, and lethal, response to those vaporous but compelling platitudes, he
will lose this election.
The first time I met Bush 43, I knew he was different. Two things became clear.
One, he didn't know very much. The other was he had confidence to ask questions
that revealed he didn't know very much. Most people are reluctant to say when
they don't know something, a word or a term they haven't heard before. Not him.
1. Staudt has obviously pressured Hodges more about Bush. I'm having
trouble running interference and doing my job. Harris gave me a message today
from Grp regarding Bush's OBTR and Staudt is pushing to sugar coat it. Bush
wasn't here during rating period and I don't have any feedback from 187th in
Alabama. I will not rate. Austin is not happy today either.
2. Harris took the call from Grp today. I'll backdate but won't rate.
Let’s remember that for years now the White House has made it their
central, preeminent talking point on this matter to stress that “the president
has released all the documents on this issue.” They, not anyone else, have
chosen to stress that point -- full disclosure -- ad nauseam. (As have their
toadies in the media who, like Sean Hannity last night, make it a point to
contrast that supposedly complete disclosure with John Kerry’s refusal to commit
to a full release of all his military records.) That talking point has now quite
clearly been exposed as a lie.
They lie with a sense of impunity. That’s the story here.
What seems to have gone unsaid about this laundry list was that these weren't
proposals that were blocked by a hostile Congress or that he couldn't find the
money to fund. It's that most of them died as a result of his own incompetence
and that of his administration.
A. A candidate who is in control of his public image.
B. A clear and consistently delivered positive message that thematically
derives from the candidate's biography.
C. A clear and consistently delivered negative message that thematically
derives from what the American people are already predisposed to dislike about
the opposition candidate.
D. (Semi-)clear lines of authority at the upper levels of the campaign
about who does what, put in place by a strong candidate with vision and animated
by a shared passionate desire to win.
E. An "adult" staffer on the plane who has known the candidate for years,
can tell him anything, knows his rhythms and moods, and who understands
politics, policy, PR, and campaigns at the highest levels.
F. A traveling press corps whose belief that the person they are covering
can win in November not-so-subtly informs every syllable they write and
Afterward, Weld commemorated their exchanges with the gift of an actual kitchenThat was after Kerry came from behind to win the '96 Senate race thru a series of eight debates. Weld did that after he lost. Can you imagine George Bush doing that ever, let alone after losing? Weld is a gentleman and a mensch, but he finished second. Bush is neither, and that's why he's got a good shot at winning after four dismal years in the White House. Kerry is up against a thug and what he's used to is Weld.
sink — reflecting everything the two had thrown at each other.
. . . to some extent he opened himself to this line of attack when he
chose to largely skip over his Senate career during his acceptance speech at the
Democratic convention last month.
They didn't boo. More accurately, the overwhelming number of people didn't
boo (I heard maybe one or two, and even those died with "hospitalized.") AP got
When Bush said "En route here we just received news that President
Clinton has been hospitalized in New York," there was a big intake of breath and
some loud "oohs" in the crowd. It was unmistakably shock. No boos.
Miller wheeled on his accuser and said that back in 1964 when the Atlanta
Constitution had printed that so-called quote he'd marched down to the paper's
offices and demanded and received a correction. He'd never say a thing like
that. A great moment.
The next day that great moment became one of our greatest nightmares. Al
May, the veteran political reporter for the Atlanta Constitution, interviewed
Miller . . . "Zell," he said, "I've talked to all the editors who were around
back then, checked the morgue and the archives, and you never asked for a
retraction and the paper never printed one."
"I know," Miller said, biting the words off the words like they were bitter
"So why'd you say all that in the debate last night?"
Miller leaned in close to May and said, "Because, Al, I was trying to
mislead the people of Georgia."
. . .
Miller opened his heart to May. Told him he'd always been for racial
equality but when Lyndon Johnson supported his opponent, he wanted to lash out.
He'd regretted that one moment of anger, dressed up as racial division, ever
The willingness to fight hard and fight dirty is something I both admire and
loathe -- and I apologize in advance for my ambivalence.
The GOP convention . . . was a loathsome affair, suffused with lies and anger, but also beautiful to watch, like a nature show about some wild animal, amoral and intent only on survival.
Aaron Brown interviewed Maureen Dowd tonight after the Bush speech. . . . She had one of the best lines of the evening: "Lee Atwater is looking up or down -- wherever he is -- and smiling. . ." --Ayelish McGarvey
Late Thursday, Miller and his wife were removed from the list of
dignitaries who would be sitting in the first family’s box during the
president’s acceptance speech later in the evening. Scott Stanzel, a spokesman
for the Bush campaign, said Miller was not in the box because the campaign had
scheduled him to do too many television interviews.
There was no explanation, however, for why Miller would be giving multiple
interviews during Bush’s acceptance speech, or what channels would snub the
president in favor of Miller. Nor was it made clear why Miller’s wife also was
not allowed to take her place in the president’s box 24 hours after his deeply
personal denunciation of his own party’s nominee.
The change was made only a few hours after Laura Bush, asked about Miller’s
speech, said in an interview with NBC News that “I don’t know that we share that
point of view.”
. . .
A senior White House official, speaking to reporters before Bush’s address Thursday night, said, “Senator Miller was speaking on behalf of himself and obviously on behalf of himself.”
He applauds Bush for caring so much about American troops that he "made
sure everything possible was done to protect our troops from the weapons of mass
destruction we all expected."
"Everyone read the speech in advance and approved it," said one prominent GOP
lobbyist working closely with the Bush-Cheney campaign on the staging and
message for the convention. The problem, he added, was that handlers did not
account for the shouting voice or glowering stare with which the 72-year-old
former Marine delivered his speech . . .
. . . or the short-tempered manner he displayed in interviews once the veracity of his charges began being challenged minutes after he left the podium.
According to The Associated Press, Mr. Miller said a man his age should not
be "coming to New York and getting involved in all this stuff." He said he
should have stayed down in his northern Georgia home "with his two yellow Labs,
Gus and Woodrow, and let the world go by."
For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest.
It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives that protester the freedom to abuse and burn that flag.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you, when Democrats come out, as they often do,
liberal Democrats, and attack conservatives, and say they want to starve little
kids, they want to get rid of education, they want to kill the old
MILLER: I am not saying that. Wait a minute.
MATTHEWS: That kind of rhetoric is not educational, is it?
MILLER: Wait a minute. Now, this is your program. And
I am a guest on your program.
MATTHEWS: Yes, sir.
MILLER: And so I want to try to be as nice as I possibly can to you. I wish I was over there, where I could get a little closer up into your face.
MILLER: But I don‘t have to stand here and listen to that kind of
stuff. I didn‘t say anything about not feeding poor kids. What are
MATTHEWS: No, I‘m saying that when you said tonight—I
just want you to...
MILLER: Well, you are saying a bunch of baloney that didn‘t have
anything to do with what I said up there on the
The lesson for Bush strategists and other Republican politicians is that
George W. Bush is no John F. Kennedy who can nonchalantly respond to reporters'
questions. At his best, Bush is tightly disciplined in giving answers that have
been carefully prepared.
"Karen has known the girls for so long she was able to capture their
personality," Mrs. Whitson said.
. . . neither he not [nor] anyone, in invoking the war on terror, has mentioned any developments in Iraq or Afghanistan over the last year. These speeches could have been written as Baghdad fell or at the latest, when Saddam was captured. And this party and president claim to be war-leaders. Real war-leaders explain defeats and set-backs, they recognize the current situation, they grapple with reality.
My job tonight is an easy one: to present to you one of this nation's
authentic heroes, one of this party's best-known and greatest leaders – and a
He was once a lieutenant governor – but he didn't stay in that office 16
years, like someone else I know. It just took two years before the people of
Massachusetts moved him into the United States Senate in 1984.
In his 16 years in the Senate, John Kerry has fought against government
waste and worked hard to bring some accountability to Washington. Early in his
Senate career in 1986, John signed on to the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit
Reduction Bill, and he fought for balanced budgets before it was considered
politically correct for Democrats to do so.
John has worked to strengthen our military, reform public education, boost
the economy and protect the environment. Business Week magazine named him one of the top pro-technology legislators and made him a member of its "Digital
John was re-elected in 1990 and again in 1996 – when he defeated popular
Republican Governor William Weld in the most closely watched Senate race in the
country.John is a graduate of Yale University and was a gunboat officer in the
Navy. He received a Silver Star, Bronze Star and three awards of the Purple
Heart for combat duty in Vietnam. He later co-founded the Vietnam Veterans of
Democratic Party of Georgia's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner
March 1, 2001
. . . not only was Mary Cheney not on stage but her partner, Heather Poe, was
carefully kept out of the camera frame, even when the CNN cameras caught the
family . . .
We are just amazed at how little commentary there has been about the decision to
have Mary Cheney not appear on stage with her sister and parents at the end of
the speech. We are certain of a few things -- Mrs. Cheney will be furious about
such speculation and talk, and that Mary Cheney is on the campaign payroll and
someone whose parents are constantly talking about how proud they are of her.
Keyes' first comments about Mary Cheney came during an interview Monday night on Sirius OutQ, a New York-based satellite station that provides 24-hour gay and
After the candidate told the hosts that homosexuality is "selfish hedonism," he was asked whether Mary Cheney is a "selfish hedonist."
"Of course she is," Keyes replied. "That goes by definition. Of course she is."
Keyes takes jabs at his own party
By Jennifer Skalka and Ofelia Casillas.
Published September 1, 2004
NEW YORK -- Madison Square Garden, home of many prizefights and hockey
brawls, seems a fitting venue for Alan Keyes to be meeting his fellow
The candidate for U.S. Senate has miffed many members of the Illinois
delegation by spending more time on national talk shows than schmoozing with
them. He has been prickly with the media, chastising reporters for asking
"inappropriate" questions. As the Republican National Convention focused
on unity Tuesday, Keyes lashed out at Vice President Dick Cheney's gay daughter.
And it was only the second day of the convention.
Keyes' first comments about Mary Cheney came during an interview Monday
night on Sirius OutQ, a New York-based satellite station that provides 24-hour
gay and lesbian programming. After the candidate told the hosts that
homosexuality is "selfish hedonism," he was asked whether Mary Cheney is a
"Of course she is," Keyes replied. "That goes by definition. Of course she
On Tuesday, Keyes defended his remarks, adding that if his daughter were a
lesbian, he would tell her she was committing a sin and should pray. Thus far,
the Republican hopeful's week has been defined by friction with his state party
chairwoman and the Illinois delegation, who feel they are playing second fiddle
to Keyes' media campaign. Some have also expressed concerns about Keyes'
beliefs, calling them too far right for Illinois.
Keyes is challenging Democrat Barack Obama, who wowed his party's national
convention with his keynote address last month.
Illinois Republican Party Chairwoman Judy Baar Topinka said the remarks
about Cheney's daughter should not distract from key election issues. "It's a
pity that we have gotten away from the substance of the campaign and instead
have gotten into personalities and things that are personal and name-calling,"
Topinka said. "Since this is amongst Republicans, it really needs to stop and
get on course."
When informed of Keyes' comments about Mary Cheney, Bush/Cheney campaign
spokesman Steve Schmidt offered a terse reply Tuesday. "It was inappropriate,"
Similar response to remark
Campaigning in North Middleton Township, Pa., with President Bush, Sen.
John McCain (R-Ariz.) spoke to reporters about Republican chances to hold the
Senate and said, "I think it's clear we lose Illinois." Informed about Keyes'
comments from the radio program, McCain said, "I don't think that's appropriate,
but it's not the first inappropriate remark Mr. Keyes has made. He made a remark
the other day that people who perform abortions are the same as terrorists.
That's a very unique take on that issue and one that's very seldom
For the last two days, Keyes has frequented Radio Row, a hallway in Madison
Square Garden occupied by talk-show hosts. Keyes, who had a radio show in the
1990s, appeared comfortable there, stopping for interviews when asked.
Two hosts with Sirius OutQ spoke with Keyes for four minutes Monday night
in a nearby hallway. Their conversation centered on his opposition to same-sex
marriage. Keyes said family is defined by having children. "If we embrace
homosexuality as a proper basis for marriage, we are saying that it's possible
to have a marriage state that in principle excludes procreation and is based
simply on the premise of selfish hedonism," the senate candidate told hosts
Michelangelo Signorile and Corey Johnson.
It was at this point that the hosts asked Keyes their question about Mary
Cheney, getting a response. An interviewer then said: "I don't think Dick Cheney
would like to hear that about his daughter." Replied Keyes: "Dick Cheney may or may not like to hear the truth, but it can be spoken."
When asked Tuesday evening to explain his statements about Mary Cheney,
Keyes did not back down. "I have said that if you are actively engaging in
homosexual relations, those relations are about selfish hedonism," he said. "If
my daughter were a lesbian, I'd look at her and say, `That is a relationship
that is based on selfish hedonism.' I would also tell my daughter that it's a
sin, and she needs to pray to the Lord God to help her to deal with that
Rick Garcia, director of Equality Illinois, a non-partisan gay-rights
group, said Keyes' views are not representative of the state's Republicans nor
Democrats. "Selfish hedonism? Has anyone seen Dr. Keyes look at a microphone or a television camera? That's hedonism," Garcia said. "The mainstream of the Illinois Republican Party is not behind Dr. Keyes."
Trying to build bridges
Keyes attempted to build bridges Tuesday with the Illinois delegation. But
a breakfast gathering ended messily for him as he chastised reporters for not
giving his candidacy a fair shake and left early.
Topinka had welcomed Keyes to a Times Square hotel for his first delegate
breakfast. She said there was room under the Republican Party's tent for
different beliefs, but added that a far-right candidate would not win in
Illinois. "Without social moderates this party cannot win," Topinka told a few
reporters before she and Keyes shook hands for the cameras. "It has to be
center-right, it can't be right-right."
When Topinka and Keyes greeted each other, the exchange was brief and
awkward. It ended strangely, as Topinka ducked out, dashing behind a ficus
plant. "There you go," she said to Keyes. "You're on."
Reporters surrounded Keyes on his way out. When asked why he had not
addressed the delegates, he promised it would not be the last time he would see
them this week but that he had to tend to a schedule packed with media
Pressed for a reason why he had not spent more time with his state party,
Keyes responded angrily. "The proper question would be: `What are you doing at
this convention?' And that is a fact," he said.
Though her views differ with Keyes' on several social issues, Topinka said
Tuesday morning that she would support him, saying, "He is on the ticket. We
will support the ticket."
Copyright © 2004, Chicago Tribune
. . . this is one of the worst things about Democrats . . . As a
group they seem to have a great tendency toward becoming disheartened, turning
on their candidate, doubting his strategy, doubting his advisors, and so forth.
Unfortunately, the candidates and advisors have an equal tendency to be open to
that kind of fretting.