Politics

Ebony and Ivory

The Democratic presidential campaigns of John Edwards and John Kerry have one thing in common: the racial make-up of their TV ads depends on where you watch them. An Edwards ad about job losses "running in Ohio... would be identical to one it ran in South Carolina last month if not for one thing" -- in the Ohio ad, the factory worker is white, but in South Carolina, the worker was black.

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Kerry Get Your Gun

"Democrats are altering their approach to the Second Amendment this year in hopes of wooing Southern and rural voters, but the National Rifle Association (NRA) says it's positioned to expose what it calls 'camouflage candidates,'" PR Week's Douglas Quenqua reports. "A group of Democratic pollsters and strategists sent a memo to all Democratic candidates last month urging them to accentuate their intention to let gun owners keep their firearms while stressing the need for gun safety.

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Bush Re-election Campaign Kicks Off

George W. Bush's campaign for re-election starts airing its first round of TV ads this week, PR Week reports. Campaign press secretary Scott Stanzel "denied reports that sinking poll numbers led the President to change strategy, abandoning an earlier plan to remain politically 'above the fray' until later this year," PR Week writes. "There's been lots of speculation, but we've always indicated that we were anxious for a debate once the race narrowed to two people," Stanzel told PR Week.

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The Campaigns Behind the Campaigns

In a sign of "close tactical coordination with the White House" and "at a time when Sen John Kerry has surged ahead of Bush in the presidential popularity polls," Republican Senators planned a surprise debate on Iraq today. Majority Leader Bill Frist and Jon Kyl are leading the estimated six-hour rebuttal of Democratic criticisms.

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Significantly Misleading

According to New York Times reporter Adam Nagourney,"Senator John Edwards said yesterday that his proposal to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, a pact he has repeatedly blamed for economic distress, would not significantly cut the flow of jobs abroad." As Zachary Roth observes in on the Columbia Journalism Review's campaign weblog, that's not what Edwards said.

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The First Thing We Do, Let's Lobby Against the Lawyer

The 2004 elections may be "a new day" for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Hill reports: "The group has never made a presidential endorsement, recognizing that it must work with whoever wins." But John Edwards has them nervous. As a trial lawyer, Edwards "represented victims of medical malpractice during a 20-year career in North Carolina." Moreover, the Center for Responsive Politics reports that over half of Edwards' campaign contributions are from lawyers and law firms.

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One Part Kerry, One Part Fonda

"A new dirty tricks campaign to embarrass the Democratic frontrunner, John Kerry, backfired ignominiously yesterday when it emerged that a widely circulated photograph of a protest against the Vietnam war was a crude forgery," reports Suzanne Goldenberg. "The photograph, falsely credited to Associated Press, combined two separate images to make it appear as if Mr Kerry shared a stage at an anti-war rally in the early 1970s with the actress, Jane Fonda." The fabricated photos are not the only recent attempt to smear Kerry.

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Voices at the Crash Site

What went wrong in the Howard Dean campaign, which looked like a winner until voters showed up at the primaries? Maybe Dean was never really ahead, says Clay Shirky. A senior Dean campaign aide agrees: "Even though we looked like an 800-pound gorilla, we were still growing up. We were like the big lanky teenager that looked like a grown man." And why did the media think otherwise?

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