Democrats Probe for Weakness in McCain's Image

DNC-sponsored focus groups show swing voters believe McCain is "wishy-washy" on key issues.

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Howard Dean is brimming with confidence about the presidential election. He says Republican John McCain is a "weak candidate" who is out of touch with everyday Americans. Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, bases his assessment on a series of DNC-sponsored focus groups showing that swing voters believe McCain is "wishy-washy" on key issues, such as tax cuts for the rich, immigration, and healthcare. Dean told me that swing voters don't think McCain understands their problems. On issue after issue, their reaction was, "The guy is completely old-fashioned," Dean said. And the Iraq war remains extremely unpopular among swing voters, Dean added, which will hurt McCain because he staunchly defends Bush's current policies there. Of course, McCain fans have a far different take. They say the Arizona senator is a proven war hero who is ready to be commander in chief, that he is a steady and experienced leader, and that he has the good judgment to lead America in a dangerous world.