Where’s The Press IV

NYT reports that the Bush campaign is going to get “more aggressive” in coming weeks:

President Bush’s political advisers are completing plans for a more aggressive stage of his re-election campaign, seeking to discredit Senator John Kerry and promote Mr. Bush’s record and character with television advertisements and a more visible role for the president himself, aides and Republican officials said.

With Mr. Kerry having emerged as the almost certain Democratic nominee, Mr. Bush has told associates he wants to get more assertive in drawing sharp distinctions with Democrats and defending his tenure as he travels the nation.

The planned shift in Republican strategy, to be executed in coming weeks, comes amid anxiety among Republicans about the president’s declining poll numbers, uncharacteristic missteps by a usually assured White House and the torrent of criticism of Mr. Bush from an energized Democratic Party that appears to be unifying around Mr. Kerry.

” `Get going’ is the operative term,” said Thomas Rath, a New Hampshire Republican leader who is close to the White House. “You’ve had a couple of weeks where the free media has not been what it should be. There’s a need for an antidote.”

The degree to which the White House has been put on the defensive was emphasized Friday evening, when Mr. Bush released hundreds of pages from his military record in an effort to counter allegations by Democrats that he might not have carried out all his duties in the National Guard in the early 1970’s.

The effort to put the matter behind him came after a month in which the White House hit one setback after another in its efforts to seize the initiative back from the Democrats and present Mr. Bush as a steady leader in a time of national trial.

“The two defining events for this year have been the State of the Union and the `Meet the Press’ interview, and both have been colossal failures,” one prominent Republican strategist said Friday night after the document release, referring to an interview broadcast by NBC last Sunday. Mr. Bush’s inability to present a compelling, aggressive case for himself in those two nationally televised appearances has “got Republicans, especially at the grass-roots level, questioning the White House’s strategy and tactics,” said the strategist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The thing most noteworth to me is that–more than 48 hours after the Drudge revelations–the Kerry intern rumor is being totally ignored by the American press and, apparently, the other candidates.

Also, it’s worth pointing out that, assuming Kerry wraps the nomination up soon, he’s free to spend as much money as he wants since he didn’t take matching funds for the primary season. Of course, his wife might be a little less inclined to loan him more money these days.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kate says:

    New York Times has finally commented on the denials, and mentioned Drudge, in a piece entitled “Clark Comes Aboard Kerry Campaign”.