Bush Leads Kerry By 17 Points Among Florida Veterans
According to a poll released this weekend by the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Bush led Kerry by 56% to 39% among Florida veterans, with 1 percent for independent Ralph Nader and 4 percent undecided. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points."
Bush Says His Support Is "Very Strong And Very Deep." U.S. News and World Report reports as part of its cover package that President Bush "believes strongly that the voters will give him a second term. 'My support is very strong and very deep,' the president told U.S. News in an Oval Office interview last Friday, fresh from campaigning in New Mexico."
Vice President Cheney arrived in New York City yesterday for the opening of the GOP National Convention and, according to NBC Nightly News, "he wasted no time in evoking the September 11 attacks." Cheney "kicked off the Republican convention today by boating to Ellis Island, calling it the gateway to America. But to a chorus of four more years, he made clear the more powerful symbol today is the view across New York harbor, the skyline where the World Trade Towers once soared, the perfect setting to highlight why the Republicans chose New York City for this convention, to remind Americans of the President's response after 9/11." Vice President Cheney was shown saying, "We remember when the President came to New York City and when the workers at Ground Zero shouted that they could not hear him. He shouted back, 'I can hear you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will soon hear from all of us.'" The Washington Times says Cheney disregarded "Democrats' charges that any mention by Republicans this week of the September 11 attacks would be political grandstanding." The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes that as Cheney spoke, "tens of thousands of protesters marched through midtown Manhattan, branding Bush as a liar with no regard for American lives and demanding an end to the war in Iraq and to his presidency." The contrasting events "in this most liberal of cities illustrated how sharply divided voters remain just two months before the 2004 election and the often-feverish passion that the president inspires on both sides of the political aisle."
Meanwhile, in a front-page story, USA Today said the political rationale for the GOP to hold its convention in New York City has diminished considerably in the last two years. "Twenty months ago," says USA Today, "that idea made a crazy kind of sense, for Republicans and for New York City." But now for Bush, "9/11 and its related issues. . .seem less of a political plus." In fact, "the convention's locale. . .has become more politically problematic. 'New York has a critical mass of people hostile to Bush that attracts other hostile people,' says Gerald Benjamin, a Republican and a political historian at the State University of New York at New Paltz. He's referring to protesters. 'This might not be the best place to do this.'"
Terror Issue Expected To Be Central To Bush Speech, GOP Convention.
According to all indications, the overarching theme in the GOP convention, as well as in President Bush's acceptance speech, will be the war on terrorism. NBC Nightly News said last night the President's advisors "say that in his acceptance speech Thursday he will outline his vision for the next four years on everything from education to health care to jobs. But the focus always returns to what the Bush campaign considers the President's strongest suit, the war on terrorism." The Washington Post reports "praise of Bush as war leader emphasized by symbolic reminders of Bush's actions after the attacks will be a dominant theme this week." NPR reports this morning that that message may start to come out tonight "when two very prominent Republicans, Sen. John McCain and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani are slated to take the spotlight. Both men have been critical of the President's policies at times, and many believe they are just what the party needs to draw undecided voters."
The Philadelphia Inquirer, spoofing a popular series of TV ads, says, "Number of Republican commemorative events scheduled this week at ground zero: none. Number of ground zero tours scheduled this week for convention delegates, and sponsored by the Republican Party: none. Number of words on the official convention Web site about ground zero, including directions for delegates who want to find the site on their own: none. The political value of doing everything possible to avoid any hint of exploitation: priceless."
NYTimes, WPost Offer Bush Advice.
In an editorial, the New York Times says this morning that "what President Bush needs is a convention that reaches out from New York to engage the nation not with sadly familiar imagery from 9/11 but with worthy ideas for the uncertain future." Meanwhile, the Washington Post writes, "What we would hope for from Mr. Bush is not simply chest-thumping about the benefits of dislodging the Taliban and overthrowing Saddam Hussein but a more candid reflection on the ways those campaigns have fallen short: the unanticipated insurgencies, the inadequacy of postwar preparations and the shocking abuses of Iraqi detainees. A convention speech isn't a confessional, but Mr. Bush would have more credibility in arguing that he should be given more time to finish the job if his self-assessment reflected some of his administration's shortcomings as well as its achievements."
"Reform" Theme The "Big Label" In Bush Speech.
A piece in this morning's Los Angeles Times reports Bush "plans to stress themes of 'ownership' and government reform in his acceptance speech Thursday, positioning himself to reprise one of his most effective arguments against Democrat Al Gore in the 2000 campaign. Without offering many specifics, Bush is likely to pledge to restructure Social Security, the tax code and the healthcare system with the common goal of shifting more control and ownership away from government toward individuals, according to sources familiar with the speech's preparation. 'The big label will be reform Social Security reform, reform of our institutions of government, reform of healthcare, and the concept of ownership,' said one senior GOP strategist who asked not to be named." Bush strategists "believe this agenda will allow them to frame the campaign's domestic debates as a choice between the president's push to empower individuals and proposals by Sen. John F. Kerry that they will portray as a return to big government."
Bush To Announce Successor To No Child Left Behind.
The Washington Post says that in his speech, Bush "will introduce a successor to the No Child Left Behind Act that will try to impose accountability on high schools and improve math and science instruction."