Cheney Paints Kerry As A Waffler, Hails Bush As "Superb" Commander-In-Chief
The Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill says today Dick Cheney and Miller "played good cop and bad cop." The Vice President "turned out primarily as a character witness for his boss, and Miller attempted to eviscerate his Democratic colleagues." While the Wall Street Journal says Cheney "unleashed a stinging attack" on Kerry "as a politician who has made a career out of changing his mind," the Vice President spent a great portion of his speech hailing President Bush "as a 'superb commander-in-chief' who has helped restore the economy and will lead the nation to victory in the war on terror." Bush, says Cheney, "does not deal in empty threats and half measures." USA Today says Cheney's delivery "was, as usual, rather dry. The energy that had surged through Madison Square Garden during Georgia Sen. Zell Miller's combative keynote speech ebbed." But "when Cheney criticized Kerry, the crowd booed the Massachusetts senator. They laughed when Cheney said Kerry had said he would fight a more 'sensitive' war on terror. When Cheney described Kerry as wavering, thousands of delegates waved their arms, slowly chanting 'flip-flop' in unison." The Washington Times thought Cheney appeared to be "brimming with confidence."
Reaction to Cheney's speech was generally positive. For example, CNN reporter Candy Crowley said on CNN's Larry King Live that the Vice President's remarks were "extremely powerful and quite strong. You have to get around that delivery but, in some ways, the delivery gives him. . .a great deal of gravitas, just the way he delivers it. There's no show biz to it. It's just all business." The New York Times, however, thought Cheney "reverted last night to the simple, bold declarations of how America should exercise its power that were often heard in the first year after the Sept. 11 attacks, when Iraq had not yet been invaded, intelligence reports had not yet proved false, and 17 months of insurgency had not yet raised the question of whether George W. Bush had taken a wrong turn in the fight against terror. . . . The reversion to such simple precepts and harsh language may be in part a response to polls that show growing doubts about how Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney have conducted the country's national security policy."
Word Choices Reveal Parties' Strategies.
The New York Times this morning runs a chart on its front-page analyzing speeches at both parties' conventions for usage of words like "war," "jobs," and "Kerry." Republicans were more likely to use words like "war" (45 times), "freedom" (36 times) and "Kerry" (39 times), while Democrats emphasized the words "health care" (37 times), "jobs" (34 times) and "war" (35 times). A major difference between conventions is the Democrats rarely referred to Bush, their opponent.