"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.
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.
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.
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.
As job loss and unemployment become campaign issues, George W. Bush is struggling to whitewash his economic record.
"Sometimes one wonders if campaign reporters could write a declarative English sentence if they were stripped of their cliches," complains the Columbia Journalism Review's Susan Q. Stranahan.
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.
"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.
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?
A Republican effort to suppress the black vote may be linked to black preacher Al Sharpton's campaign in the 2004 Democratic presidential primary. Sharpton has postured as a radical firebrand, accusing other Democratic candidates such as Howard Dean of racial bias. According to reporter Wayne Barrett, "Roger Stone, the longtime Republican dirty-tricks operative who led the mob that shut down the Miami-Dade County recount and helped make George W. Bush president in 2000, is financing, staffing, and orchestrating the presidential campaign of Reverend Al Sharpton. ...