Out to Launch


Things couldn’t look better for George W. Bush. Even before the Republican National Convention began, the president had started to register a bounce in the polls—coinciding with the successful Swift boat attacks on John Kerry’s character. Bush has accomplished what no one

would have dreamed of in July. He has forced Kerry to build his campaign around Vietnam and events that occurred more than 30 years ago, while Bush has deftly wrapped himself in 9-11 and is fighting today’s real-time war on terror.

At the Time Warner media gala over the weekend, James Carville blew up at the mention of Kerry’s campaign: “They’re a perpetual committee listening to aperpetual focus group, and it’s got to change,” Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post quoted Carville as saying. Carville went on to point out that on the day the U.S. Census Bureau announced an increase in poverty and millions more Americans lacking health care, what did Kerry do? “The event they did,” said Carville, “was credit-card debt . . . because someone in a focus group must have said something.” And where is Edwards? Nowhere. “He’s a racehorse,” said Carville. “You’ve got to get him on the track.”

Bottom line: Watch third-party (and Nader’s) numbers begin to climb as united-front near-lefty Dems peel off the Kerry campaign looking for somewhere to hide.

Additional reporting: Alexander Provan, Alicia Ng, and Laurie Agnese