Kerry 2, Bush 1
Smackdown week 3:
- John Kerry raises $10 million in 10 days, mostly via the internet (Bloomberg)
- Spanish PP goes down to defeat in Spanish elections. Consensus appears to be that PP's close association with Bush's war in Iraq a major factor in defeat. (AP)
- Kerry "foreign leaders" flap based on a misquote (Drudge)
- Bush challenges Kerry to "Back it up with facts" in regard to "foreign leaders" flap (MSNBC)
- Kerry accused of allowing lax security at Logan airport. Accuser previously said that Kerry got the information to the right people (Hesiod).
- Powerful blast shatters Baghdad hotel, killing at least 27 people (CNN)
- Kerry issues a "Military Family Bill of Rights" (Kerry)
- New survey shows world opinion of America sinking (Baltimore Sun)
- Kerry, Cheney spar over national security in dueling speeches (Washington Post)
- New Bush ad accuses Kerry of abandoning troops by voting against funding (AP)
- al Qaeda endorses Bush re-election (Reuters)
- John Kerry is told to repudiate a Dean comment by the head of Bush's re-election campaign. Kerry says Dean's position is not his position. (AP)
- Sen. John McCain says that Kerry is not weak on defense (AP)
- Poland may withdraw troops from Iraq earlier than planned, says they were "misled". (AP)
- Bush campaign ad hits Kerry with his own words: "I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it." (Reuters)
- Bush leads in New Hampshire (Political Wire)
This has been a tough week to judge. Kerry's been put on the defensive for the first time in this campaign with disputes about the "more/foreign leaders" flap, his vote on the Iraq supplemental appropriation and his reaction to criticism of comments from Howard Dean. His response to these incidents has been considerably weaker then the "crooks and liars" flap and his handling of the Dean situation and the appropriations vote suggests a return to the old weak-backbone behavior of Democrats of the last few years.
On the other hand, Bush has had a pretty bad week as well, what with the defeat of Aznar in Spain, grumblings from Poland that they were "misled" and the hotel bombing in Iraq.
And Kerry had a couple of good things happen: he is raising huge amounts of money on the internet and John McCain has becoming his point man when it comes to vouching for his character. Unfortunately, McCain cannot be relied on long-term to be their and the rest of the Democratic leadership has been noticeably unwilling to stand up for Kerry. (Aside: I have this sneaking suspicion that Dean may become one of Kerry's most vocal point men.)
I thought about just awarding half-points to both candidates and leave it at that. But that felt like a wimp-out. So, I regrettably have to award this week to Bush. On balance, he managed to get back on balance and put Kerry off balance at the same time and that tips the balance in Bush's favor.
I guess that makes this my fair and balanced judgment <ducking>