In an unusual move, the Kerry campaign hierarchy flew to New York City to meet with
reporters this morning, and in one session conceded that it didn't handle the swift boat vets' attacks well. "We did not calibrate that this would become the focus" of August, said campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill. However, strategist Tad Devine contended that the issue didn't have the
impact on the polls that the media and the GOP has been suggesting.
He noted that the race has moved just a few points, in Bush's favor, and said that if the swift boat attacks were as effective as some claimed, Bush should be up by 10 percent. In fact, he argued, since Bush didn't get as good a bump, "the president is in deep trouble." Other aides pushed that theory, claiming that the president is in such a poor situation with voters that he's had to spend the convention reaching out to his conservative base. Democrats had, in the past, accused the administration of
ignoring its conservative base as evidenced by a mostly moderate convention tone. Paul Bedard, U.S. News