As John McCain was winding up his campaign in Wisconsin hoping for a knockout victory over Mike Huckabee today, the Democratic National Committee was zeroing in on what party officials consider McCain's vulnerabilities in the general election.
In an E-mail distributed to reporters this morning, titled "McCain Myth Buster," party leaders attempt to tie the presumptive GOP presidential nominee to President Bush, whose popularity is at a low ebb with independents and Democrats.
"After casting himself as a 'maverick' in 2000, the new John McCain is walking in lockstep with President Bush, pandering to the right wing of the Republican Party, and embracing the ideology he once denounced," the DNC says. "So just who is the real John McCain?" This line of attack will continue for the indefinite future as the DNC aims to present a "daily fact aimed at exposing the man behind the myth." In today's installment, the DNC says McCain didn't call for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's dismissal during Bush's first term, as McCain suggests he did in an effort to improve the management of the war. The Democrats quote the Washington Post as concluding that McCain is exaggerating his criticism of Rumsfeld. Actually, the Democrats say, McCain was a strong supporter of Bush's war policies from the start.
"On Iraq and everything else, a vote for McCain is a vote for a third Bush term," the DNC says. Part of the DNC strategy is to keep its sights focused on McCain while Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama fight each other for the Democratic nomination.
—Kenneth T. Walsh