Kerry 2, Bush 0
Week 2 of Election 2004 smackdown:
- Kerry scares Bush in Florida polls (KOS)
- Kerry Flip-Flop accusations backfire on Bush (KOS)
- McCain entertains idea of being Kerry's running mate (AP)
- Allegations of Bush using Lincoln Bedroom as reward to campaign donors (AP)
- The Log Cabin Republicans launch an ad campaign critical of Bush (the left coaster)
- Bush "flip-flops" on how much time he will talk with the 9/11 commission after Kerry criticizes Bush for spending more time visiting the rodeo (TPM)
- Kerry tied with Bush in Tennessee (AP)
- Kerry criticized for calling Republican critics "crooks" and "liars" (Me)
- Terrorist attacks in Spain remind people of what the war on terror is about (AP)
- Bush's nominee for "Manufacturing Czar" turns out to have outsourced one of his factories to China. Nomination "withdrawn" after Kerry inspired criticism. (KOS)
- Kerry says, "I have no intention whatsoever of apologizing for my remarks" in response to controversy over "crooks" and "liars" comment (AP)
- New Bush anti-Kerry ad uses image of "dark skinned terrorist" to frighten Americans (TNR)
- Kerry's proposed $1.5 billion cut was less than the $3.8 billion cut eventually passed by a Republican Congress (WP via Atrios)
- Consumer sentiment slips unexpectedly (Reuters)
- Allegations that administration intimidated Medicare official to hide higher costs of prescription-drug benefit plan from Congress, including Republicans (Miami Herald)
All-in-all I'd have to call this as another week for Kerry, but not quite the blowout that last week was. The "crooks" and "liars" comment was unfortunate for its non-specificity and thus allowing Kerry critics to paint him as irrational. But his recovery the next day was about as good as could be hoped for. (Yes, I know I am still in the minority on this). I also think the bombings in Spain will, over-all, be beneficial to Bush. Yes, it could be argued that they demonstrate the failure of Bush policies ("The terrorists are still out there!") but they also allow Bush to put on his unflinching-defender-against-the-evil-dewers suit that is about the only thing he has going for him. At best, it was a neutral factor.
But Kerry comes out ahead of Bush on matters like the McCain VP story (a knock against Bush no matter how you paint it), the continued criticism of his flip-flops with respect to the 9/11 comission and the manufacturing czar, and embarassing stories like the use of the Lincoln bedroom and allegations of intimidation against a Medicare official.
Topping it all off was the extremism of the first anti-Kerry ads from the Bush camp.
On to round 3!