Bush vs. Edwards?


The WSJ today discusses the approach of the Bush Cheney 2004 campaign versus Kerry’s ceep selection of Edwards. There were a few surprising comments on both sides:

Bush: “Dick Cheney could be president.” (is this supposed to help?)

Kerry: Edwards is “ready” for governing and campaigning alike, cracking that the ticket has “a better sense of what’s happening to America, and…better hair.”

Bush: North Carolinians “will understand that the senator from Massachusetts doesn’t share their values.”

Edwards: “You know, I grew up in a small town in North Carolina. This is the kind of man we grew up looking up to, respecting, somebody who believed in faith and family and responsibility.”

The Bush campaign is beating the “values” drum — something Kerry camp claims as an attempt to move electorate focus away from Iraq and the Economy: Expect the Dems to resist all GOP attempts to change any focus or shift attention away from these problems — WSJ: “There’s a very pronounced effort on their part to move the campaign to social issues,” Kerry strategist Tad Devine told a breakfast meeting of reporters. But the elevation of the 51-year-old Mr. Edwards, he added, “helps make the election about the future” of middle-class families.

Here’s an excerpt:

“For Mr. Bush, whose poll ratings have suffered from unease over the economy and the war with Iraq, it was a day to tend to his party’s most faithful supporters. Addressing a central conservative concern, Mr. Bush complained Democrats are blocking votes on Bush nominees to the federal bench. He met yesterday in Raleigh with three judicial nominees, two of whom have been specifically blocked by Mr. Edwards.

The battle over judicial nominees, a proxy for ideological wars over issues such as abortion and civil rights that federal courts wrestle with, helps Mr. Bush’s campaign highlight the “values” theme that helped him defeat Al Gore in 2000. Messrs. Kerry and Edwards, the president said, “are the types of senators” resisting nominees who represent “mainstream values.”

But the Democratic ticket will seek to demonstrate that the Bush-Cheney team is out of step — and out of touch. Mr. Edwards has said one of the nominees Mr. Bush met with has a “particularly troubling” record “on civil rights.” And of Mr. Bush’s incursion onto his own turf, Mr. Edwards shot back in his Southern drawl: “I’ve spent a lot more time there than the president has, I can tell you that. “Mr. Kerry was quick to rise to Mr. Edwards’s defense yesterday, using Mr. Bush’s criticism of his new running mate to whip up a late-afternoon crowd in Dayton, Ohio. He asserted that Mr. Edwards “has more experience than George Bush and better judgment than he did when he became president.”

Here’s the next few weeks of campaigning in the swing states:

click for larger chart
Graphic courtesy of WSJ

Bush Signals Tack Against Kerry’s Ticket
President Hits Edwards on Qualifications And Both Democrats on Their Values
By Greg Hitt and Jacob M. Schlesinger
The Wall Street Journal, July 8, 2004; Page A4

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