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Monday, June 07, 2004

Kerry calls timeout, loses momentum, field position

Yeah, I know, nothing cheaper than sports analogies.

Yesterday, I wrote how the suspension of Kerry's campaign was a mistake serious enough for heads to roll.

Since then, there have been a number of developments proving this true. But first, let's start with what hasn't happened. Such as the list of Colorado newspapers that will not be publishing stories on Kerry's visit in this battleground state with an important senate race.

Adam Nagourney writes in the Times' Reagan Legacy Looming Large Over Campaign with this dandy of a quote: "We think it's respectful, and No. 2, I don't think we're going to get any coverage," said Mr. Kerry's deputy campaign manager, Steve Elmendorf.

Wearing a tie at the funeral is respectful, suspending the campaign is incompetence. Furthermore, what happened to campaigning for the sake of reaching voters instead of reaching the press? While Mr. Elmendorf may be a knowledgable strategist, this additude of comfort is distressing. To win campaigns you have to be hungery and that is one lesson Mr. Elmendorf didn't seem to learn from his front row seat at the implosion of Dick Gebhardt's career. Yet again, we see why hill types should be barred from campaign headquarters.

MSNBC's First Read notes, "His [Kerry] week-long focus on the middle-class squeeze has been postponed." Too bad, because all of this nostalgia over Reagonomics would provide great context.

While the squeezed middle-class is forced to see hour after hour of Reagan worship while Kerry sits on the sidelines, Washington Wrap reports that, "Republicans circulated old quotes from Mr. Kerry in which he criticized Mr. Reagan." Big surprise there. Didn't see that one coming. Of course, Kerry still decided to kiss Reagan's ass to provide the context necessary for there to be the accusation of a flip. Real professional.

Carla Marinucci's Reagan legacy could give Bush boost in the San Francisco Chronicle quotes Dan Schnur, "The news coverage about Ronald Reagan's accomplishments reminds a lot of people, particularly swing voters, why they have voted Republican in past elections. Looking back at the Reagan legacy of tax cuts and bringing freedom to Eastern Europe, there's a national connection to the major themes that the Bush campaign is stressing."

And The Note sees so many benefits for Bush, that they were forced to make a list:

1. Reminds Americans how much they like an optimistic Westerner as their president.

2. Overshadows for a week President Bush's troubles with world leaders and continued death and uncertainty in Iraq.

3. Bush Doctrine is a descendent of now uniformly celebrated Reagan foreign policy vision.

4. Prominence of 41 reburnishes the Bush Brand -- he did all the morning shows today and he's expected to be visible at the end of the week's events.

5. Gives the current President Bush a chance to make one of the best and most-watches speeches of his life on Friday.

6. National rallying around the President in the short term.

7. Politically popular stem cell position change might be possible now.

8. Kerry misses a week of campaigning in battleground states that still don't know him.

9. Possible Democratic loss of fundraising cash from two cancelled money events in New York and Los Angeles.

Yet I think the Boston Globe's use of the word, "firebreak" best illustrates the benefit to the Bush Campaign.

When the horserace begins again, Bush has both the presidential bounce and a clean slate. While the Kerry campaign relaxes this week, they better be thinking long and hard about how they are going to jumpstart their campaign next week.

Hopefully, they'll start next week by sending out every surrogate to every battleground and every talk show to bash Bush. I really don't care about what, but they had better all be saying the same thing and some paid air support reinforcing the criticism by some 527s would a good investment.

Then, Kerry needs to announce a running mate. And it had better be a good choice.

-Bob Brigham

P.S. Political Wire relays the following Kerry state directors:

For some of the key battleground states:
Florida: Tom Shea, Chief of Staff to Sen. Jon Corzine (D-NJ)
Ohio: J.B. Poersch, Chief of Staff to Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI)
Pennsylvania: Tony Podesta, lobbyist
Michigan: Donnie Fowler, National Field Director, Gore 2000
New Mexico: Moses Mercado, former Chief of Staff to Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-MO)
Arkansas: Rodney Shelton, former Clinton aide
Missouri: Tony Wilson, former Clinton/Gore aide
Oregon: Sam Rodriguez, former Clinton/Gore aide
Not battleground states, but big electoral votes:
New York: Rodney Capel, former Clinton/Gore aide
California: Sky Gallegos, National Political Director for Sen. John Edwards (D-NC)
Illinois: Avis Lavelle, former Clinton aide

- Bob Brigham
Bob Brigham Politics: Bay to the Beltway
Online + Campaigns + Politics + Elections + San Francisco + News + Blogs + Presidential + Battleground + Senate + Congress

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