Bush Speech Will Offer Themes, But Few Policy Specifics
On its "Convention Wire," the Wall Street Journal reports this morning that campaign manager Ken Mehlman yesterday spoke about what the public should expect from Bush's speech. "You'll get a sense of where he wants to take the country." The speech will be "thematic, with few policy specifics," Mr. Mehlman says, and "will outline ideas such as Mr. Bush's desire to create an 'ownership society' that conforms government 'to changes Americans face today.'" The Minneapolis Star Tribune carries quotes from Bush pollster Matthew Dowd, who told the paper the President "will take aim tonight at a goal. . .Kerry failed to achieve at his own nominating convention a month ago: telling Americans what he would do as president the next four years. Bush campaign officials say Kerry blundered by not spelling out his agenda, and they vow that the president won't make the same mistake." Dowd muses, "They didn't tell the public anything new. . . . It was like Chinese food. They had it and three days later what was it?'"
Bush Camp Mobilizing Backers To Talk About Speech At Work, Church, Other Settings.
The Washington Post also reports that "one problem for both campaigns is that undecided voters are unlikely to be watching the conventions, so the Bush-Cheney campaign is mobilizing supporters to talk about the convention speech at work, at church and around town. 'People will ask a neighbor next door what they thought of it that'll be important,' Dowd said. 'So you don't know what you've accomplished until days after, when people have had a chance to digest it.'"
Bush Described As President "Of Consequence," "Willful, Hands-On Manager."
In a generally complimentary feature piece this morning, the New York Times recaps the President's first term, noting that he "will stride into Madison Square Garden as a president of consequence, tested, altered and defined by the history that intervened on a crystalline September morning four miles south of the stage where he will accept his party's nomination for a second term." The article calls Bush "a willful, hands-on manager," contradicting the image of a disengaged leader controlled by his handlers that has been promoted by the President's critics. Bush, adds the Times, "will have a place in history." As a "leader and politician, Mr. Bush has displayed traits that infuriate and intimidate his opponents and sometimes surprise even his supporters. In a complex world, he rejects ambiguity for the certitude of the choice between good and evil and the comfort of a morality shaped by his religious faith. When faced with a political setback, he has a knack for capitulating and then claiming victory. Perhaps most of all, the president who ambled through his first 40 years remains a man of enormous ambition, ferociously determined to succeed and at last outdo his father in what he calls the final campaign of his life." The Times goes on to described Bush As "a street-smart, intuitive politician, heavily influenced by Lee Atwater."