Kate O’Beirne has more thoughts on the Kerry message and how the campaign is shaping up.
Republicans do allow that they have been helped by what they see as puzzling missteps by the Kerry campaign. Some wonder why the candidate himself is helping to keep the Swift-boat veterans’ controversy alive. They think Max Cleland’s stunt in Crawford left them unscathed and the story front and center. One adviser marvels that the Kerry camp didn’t anticipate the attack on his antiwar statements and “deal with them months ago.” He candidly adds that if Kerry loses, they will look back and only then appreciate that he couldn’t be both a war hero and anti-war.
A month ago, Bush and Kerry were tied on who would be the better commander-in-chief. Bush is now up by eight points. After the Boston convention, Kerry halved Bush’s advantage on being a “strong leader.” Bush is now back up by 20 points. Tied a month ago on “credibility,” Bush is now up by seven.
Confident Democrats placed their bet in Boston, but knocking off a sitting president is an awfully big job for a mere lieutenant.