Kerry, Basking In Media Attention, Wants A Positive Convention
Democrats Asked To Tone Down Bush Bashing. U.S. News and World Report reports this week that John Kerry is set to take the reins of "the most united, energized, and resolute Democratic Party in a generation, maybe two. "NBC added last night that "with the Democratic base fired up, they're all about appealing to undecideds. They're now trying to stay positive and limit the Bush-bashing. . . . To prevent convention gaffes, Kerry aides say their team of speech writers is working to provide guidance to shape the message of those invited to appear in Boston.They don't want to risk offending voters with anti-Bush rhetoric. "On ABC, former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos commented, "What this party is unified by is a visceral hatred of President Bush. And I think that what the Kerry campaign is worried about is something that plagued George Bush Sr. back in 1992 a very harsh convention in Houston that turned off a lot of voters. I think this campaign is worried that a lot of the rhetoric out on the floor is going to get very hot, very anti-Bush, and they are calling all over to all of the speakers to tell them to tone down the rhetoric, talk about John Kerry a lot more than you talk about President Bush." USA Today adds that "party leaders said Sunday that the festivities would focus on the character, credentials and positive vision of...Kerry not on criticizing President Bush." The New York Times reports this morning Democrats are "brimming with anger at President Bush but backing John Kerry's call to tone down attacks on the president over the next four days." The Washington Times says "Kerry's staff is examining convention speakers' remarks to make sure that they stay mostly positive." Columnist William Safire writes in the New York Times, "If anything can concentrate the mind of Democratic partisans, it is four interminable years suffering Republican leadership in the House, Senate and White House the political equivalent of service in the Siberian gulag."
Media Focus On Kerry.
Leading into the convention, newspapers and newsweeklies are providing Kerry with saturation coverage mostly positive, but some negative. U.S. News and World Report reports "insiders" say Kerry "has read convention histories all the way back to Woodrow Wilson to make sure it goes right. He has also reached out to his Vietnam War pals for suggestions. . . . His goal is to show he's not just a Massachusetts liberal weenie. Instead, he wants to be portrayed as a Vietnam War medal recipient who has earned his foreign policy spurs in the Senate." Newsweek profiles Kerry in its cover story this week, reporting that in an interview Kerry "protested that he's not really distant or remote. 'There's nobody who travels with me on the bus or in this campaign who thinks that,' he said." As part of its cover package this week, Time profiles Kerry as "an oddly elusive character for a national politician. There are nagging questions about his steadiness, especially on issues located at the jittery intersection of politics and policy." Time adds that Kerry's "most notable asset his grace and clear thinking under pressure comes and goes with maddening irregularity." Time also takes a look at the Kerry team of advisers, saying it "is wider in reach but narrower in influence than Bush's, more a kaleidoscope than a circle.Depending on the question at hand, Kerry may draw upon old friends, new allies or even former adversaries.Yet none of them ever enjoy more than a limited hold on him."
Heinz Kerry Tells Reporter To "Shove It."
And while the Kerry camp is asking its supporters to stay positive, the AP reports today that Teresa Heinz Kerry "urged her home-state delegates to the Democratic National Convention to restore a more civil tone to American politics, then minutes later told a newspaperman to 'shove it.' 'We need to turn back some of the creeping, un-Pennsylvanian and sometimes un-American traits that are coming into some of our politics,' the wife of Sen. John Kerry told her fellow Pennsylvanians on Sunday night at a Massachusetts Statehouse reception. Minutes later, Colin McNickle, the editorial page editor of the conservative Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, questioned her on what she meant by the term 'un-American,' according to a tape of the encounter recorded by Pittsburgh television station WTAE. Heinz Kerry said, 'I didn't say that' several times to McNickle. She then turned to confer with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and others. When she faced McNickle again a short time later, he continued to question her, and she replied, 'You said something I didn't say. Now shove it.'" The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette adds that when asked about the exchange later, McNickel replied, "Mrs. Heinz Kerry has a perfect right to say whatever she wants."