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Iowa 2004 presidential primary precinct caucus and caucuses news, reports and information on 2004 Democrat and Republican candidates, campaigns and issues

Iowa Presidential Watch's

The Democrat Candidates

Holding the Democrats accountable today, tomorrow...forever.

John Kerry

excerpts from the Iowa Daily Report

November 1-15, 2003

Speaking of damage control

Oops! Mark Mellman and Tad Devine may be looking for more work. It is reported in CBS’s Washington Wrap that Kerry received zero votes in the National Journal’s Insider Poll. The two work for Kerry. Mellman as a pollster and has been paid $275,031 for his work so far, according to Washington Wrap. Devine’s partners are doing media for the Kerry campaign. The 50 members of the chattering class who make up those eligible to vote gave Dean two more first-place votes, bringing his total to 38. Gephardt also picked up votes, moving from five first-place votes to nine. Also gaining a little ground was Sen. John Edwards, who received two first-place votes in comparison to last week’s lone ballot. We will see how Edwards fairs next week after the Saudi Arabia flak. (11/01/2003)

Help like this...

Sen. John Kerry may begin to wonder about his friends -- not only are paid staff not voting for him but his hometown newspaper the Boston Globe is looking for his spark. The headline of today’s story about Kerry asks the question about his style and whether his campaign can get on track. The paper references the exchange between Gwen Ifill and Kerry at the Detroit Debate:

"The rap on you is that you're kind of a Northeastern liberal elitist and that you have some problem connecting with people," moderator Gwen Ifill said. "How do you dispel that notion?"

And with dead-pan humor that Michael S. Dukakis might appreciate, Kerry replied, "Well, wait until you see my new video, `Kerry Gone Wild.' "

The most positive part of the story is: “Relaxing on an airplane recently, Kerry said he is confident that his campaign is starting to surge in popularity. He has edged up behind Dean in a few polls and logged endorsements from high-profile Democrats like former New Hampshire governor Jeanne Shaheen and the defense secretary during the Clinton administration, William Perry. He also continues to draw strong support from military veterans and Democrats concerned about national security, who have been his most passionate supporters by far. They are indeed Kerry voters, hailing his decorated service during the Vietnam War and his foreign policy work in the Senate.” (11/01/2003)

It’s about the props

Sen. John Kerry looked like a presidential candidate complete with just the right props in his press conference Friday. He used the occasion of Iowa’s pheasant season to criticize Howard Dean’s gun record and past support of Dean by the National Riffle Association. Local and national press carried the story. Here is the Associated Press’s account of the scene as Kerry made his statements: "Kerry made his remarks on a farm about an hour northeast of Des Moines, where he planned an afternoon of pheasant hunting. Dressed in blue jeans, a flannel shirt and rubber boots, he spoke against a backdrop of stacked hay bales, lit by a row of television lights. Kerry’s attack on Dean’s gun control positions will be seen by some Democrats as pandering to the left. Democrats are trying to re-craft their approach to gun control. Several Democrat policy groups have developed to deal with assisting Democrat candidates to moderate their position on gun control due to election failures in what is known as red states (those carried by George W. Bush)."

Dean’s response to the Kerry/NRA attack:

"I come from a rural state with a very low homicide rate," Dean told reporters in New Hampshire. "We had five homicides one year. It's a state where hunting is a part of our life. I understand that's not the traditional Democratic position."

Kerry’s rebuttal:

"You cannot favor federal gun control and allow the states to do it their own way. That's a complete contradiction… "I believe we must put the safety of our children and families ahead of special interests like the NRA. I will never pander to the extremist NRA for personal or political expediency." (11/01/2003)

The scariest Republican

Sen. John Kerry’s website has a  Halloween atmosphere for his “tournament for the scariest Republican.” The tournament match-up is between Attorney General John Ashcroft, (defeated President Bush 1047-731) and Vice President Dick Cheney (defeated Congressman Tom Delay 1102-676) Opposing them in the finals is Karl Rove (defeated Defense Sec. Donald Rumsfield) and against the number two person in the Defense Department Paul Wolfwitz ( defeated Sen. Trent Lott 1076-701). Currently John Ashcroft and Karl Rove are substantially in the lead for the showdown on the Kerry website to be named the “scariest Republican.” (11/01/2003)

Affirmative action

The Associated Press has a story about Howard Dean, Joe Lieberman and John Kerry regarding their changing positions on Affirmative Action. The three have not always been stalwarts of the policy. Here are past statements by the three:

John Kerry: "There exists a reality of reverse discrimination that actually engenders racism.” Later, he added, "We cannot hope to make further racial progress when the plurality of whites believe, as they do today according to recent data, that it is they, not others, who suffer most from discrimination."

Joe Lieberman: "Most Americans who do support equal opportunity and are not biased don't think it is fair to discriminate against some Americans as a way to make up for historic discrimination against others.”

Howard Dean: "You know, I think we ought to look at affirmative action programs based not on race, but on class and opportunities to participate.”

Like the Medicare issue Dick Gephardt is sure to use these past statements, oh, say when we get to South Carolina. (11/01/2003)

Gary Hart in New Hampshire

The Kerry campaign says it is happy to have Monkey Business famed Gary Hart campaigning for them in New Hampshire because Hart won that state's Presidential Primary once upon a time. “New Hampshire has loved Gary Hart since he won the primary with a truly grassroots-based campaign in 1984, so the Kerry team here is very excited about his return to the Granite State this Wednesday, November 5, at 12:30 p.m. at Manchester's West Side Library - to campaign on John Kerry's behalf!” -- according to the campaign. (11/02/2003)

Kerry to clean up rivers

``I'm going to do what's right to restore America's waterways, even if polluters don't like it,'' said John Kerry as he outlined his proposals to clean up rivers on the Banks of the Mississippi River in Davenport Iowa. His proposal included an incentive-based plan to curb runoffs into the nation's river systems and put new efforts into restoring wetlands. His package would create incentive systems for cities along the river to control runoff that is steadily polluting the river, and would put in place similar incentives for farmers to create buffer strips to control leaking of farm chemicals into rivers. He also wants efficiency efforts and proposes using educational programs to curb wasteful water use. The package does not have a price tag, and he said he would work closely with cities and states to hammer out details of the plan. (11/04/2003)

Three against one

The campaigns of John Edwards, Dick Gephardt and John Kerry have all joined forces, according to an Associated Press story, to block Howard Dean’s endorsement by the 1.6 million member Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The union is the largest member of the AFL-CIO and consequently important in blocking or gaining the AFL-CIO endorsement. The story reports that the three campaigns held a conference call and shared intelligence about the possibility of blocking the Dean endorsement. They then all agreed to call whoever they could to stop the endorsement. The call was the result of an Oct. 30 announcement by SEIU spokeswoman Sarah Howard that the union would either endorse Dean or no one at all at its Nov.6 board meeting. The Dean campaign has expressed concern about coordinated attacks against their front running campaign in the past. They recently suggested it regarding Dean’s Confederate flag missteps when all the campaigns piled on Dean. If Dean wins the endorsement, it will be the first time that Dean makes significant gains into the traditional Democrat wing of the party. Dean’s Internet driven campaign has put him at odds with the traditional levers of power for the Democrat Presidential nomination. The Associated Press article points out:

“SEIU is among the most racially and ethnically diverse labor unions, representing janitors, health care workers and other service employees. With health care a priority of the SEIU political machine, an endorsement also would help shield Dean from criticism that he has not always supported Medicare.” (11/04/2003)

Kerry countdown

John Kerry’s campaign website now has countdown clocks that count the seconds till the Iowa and New Hampshire presidential contests. The website also has four ways to help Kerry win in those states: travel to one of them and volunteer; send money now; if you live in Iowa or New Hampshire pledge support; and last straw you can make phone calls, write letters or send e-mails from home. ...Scariest Republican? For those of you who have been waiting breathlessly for the results of Kerry’s Scariest Republican contest results: You guessed it -- John Ashcroft won with 476 votes over Karl Rove with 364 votes. Where did your viewers go, John? (11/05/2003)

Rock the Vote

Democrat Presidential candidates went on CNN’s Rock the Vote and here are some of the clips:

·        Edwards, Dean and Sen. John Kerry said they had used marijuana in the past. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Wesley Clark and Al Sharpton said they had not. Sen. Joe Lieberman said he had, although he apologized for it. Former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun declined to answer.

·        Kerry of Massachusetts drew the Red Sox question and was asked whether he would have removed Boston’s starting pitcher at the critical point in last month’s Game 7 of a playoff series with the New York Yankees. He said he would have — that he was “throwing things at the television set” urging the manager to do so.

·        Clark, asked about gay and lesbian rights, said he would give homosexuals “the opportunity to serve in the U.S. armed forces.”

·        "I understand the legacy of racism in this country, and I understand the legacy of bigotry in this country," Dean said. "We need to bring folks together in this race, just like Martin Luther King tried to do before he was killed. He was right. And I make no apologies for reaching out to poor white people."

·        "When Bill Clinton was found to be a member of a white-only country club, he apologized. You are not a bigot, but you appear to be too arrogant to say `I'm wrong' and go on," said the Rev. Al Sharpton, the New York civil rights leader and presidential contender.

·        “Teresa Heinz Kerry is right: nine podiums on a well-lit stage do not make a substantive debate, not any more than nine candidates in frantic motion make a serious primary campaign” -- Eileen McNamara, Globe columnist. (11/05/2003)

Kerry on Dean

“Howard Dean has finally admitted that his words have caused pain but I am puzzled as to why he does not seem to regret the words that caused the pain. Rather than politics as usual, Howard Dean should have taken responsibility for his rhetoric and simply said ‘I was wrong.’ We should not forget that the insensitive and offensive remarks Howard Dean made five days ago were not in a discussion about race in this country but instead as a way of explaining why he told the NRA, in an effort to get their endorsement, that he opposed a federal ban on assault weapons.” (11/6/2003)

Flimflam artist

The Manchester Union Leader story has Kerry name-calling Dean:

Sen. John Kerry charged yesterday that Democratic Presidential primary rival Howard Dean is proving himself to be an unprincipled “flimflam artist” on gun control, as well as campaign finance, Social Security and Medicare.

The story relates how Kerry and Dean’s campaign entered into a debate about parsing whether Dean was or wasn’t for a federal waiting period. Kerry’s spokesman responded according to the Union leader:

Later, Kerry spokesman Mark Kornblau said Kerry did not base that charge on any questionnaire answer, but on Dean’s “illogical argument. You can’t be against a federal restriction before state restrictions. If you’re for background checks nationally, for instance, but not against them for Vermont, you know the federal law supersedes the Vermont law. How does that make sense?” (11/7/2003)

Kerry crashes

The NY Daily News has a story about how Kerry has fallen:

He doesn't lead in a single primary state. In New Hampshire, his own backyard, he trails Howard Dean by double digits. In South Carolina, a state he considers so key that he staged his formal campaign announcement there, his numbers are so bad that he's being beaten by the Rev. Al Sharpton. (11/7/2003)

Kerry’s ad in New Hampshire

Sen. John Kerry, in an attempt to climb back in the game in New Hampshire, is running the ad he has up in Iowa. The ad portrays Kerry taking on President Bush and his cozy relations with corporations. Kerry uses the ad to push for rolling back Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and cracking down on corporate corruption. (11/7/2003)

Down in the Mud

The Washington Post is carrying a story about the exchange between Sen. John Kerry and Howard Dean. Kerry continues to attack Dean on a range of articles aiming to package Dean as a flimflam artist:

“… Kerry sharply attacked Dean, saying Thursday that he has changed positions on guns, federal entitlements, trade and campaign finance to further his presidential aspirations and that Dean had misrepresented the controversy over a comment he made involving the Confederate flag. Kerry called on Dean to "back off the flimflam artistry of politics as usual."

The Post reports that Dean is now trying to paint Kerry into the corner of a dirty campaigner:

Dean responded Friday that Kerry had gotten "down in the mud" with an assertion that "doesn't hold water." He said the campaign should not be about the past but about the future and defeating President Bush. But when asked why it was legitimate for him to attack Kerry and other rivals for their votes on Iraq, as he has done for months, Dean responded, "All I'm willing to do is tell you what my positions are." (11/8/2003)

MTBE shenanigans

Sen. John Kerry tried to tag Congressman Tom Delay’s actions to exempt gasoline additive manufacturers of MTBE from clean-up in the new energy bill to President Bush, according to an Associated Press story in the Manchester Union Leader:

"George Bush has reversed the polluters pay principle," Kerry said. "This is a reversal of the sense of morality and responsibility we fought hard to put in place. It's no surprise Tom Delay has led this fight when you consider that 75 percent of the MTBE is produced by his campaign contributors in Texas."  (11/8/2003)


Sen. John Kerry capitalized on his status as a VietNam veteran in New Hampshire, according to the Manchester Union Leader:

“How many here are veterans?” Sen. John Kerry called out, staring eye to eye with the men and women standing and clapping in the tiny flag-festooned meeting room at the Manchester Institute for the Arts.

Hands flew up all over the place.

“Hoo-ha!” chanted Kerry, at ease and smiling in his Vietnam-era leather jacket.

A standing “Hoo-ha!” was returned by the crowd. throughout the Democratic Presidential candidate’s 15-minute love fest with about 75 ardent listeners at yesterday’s Veterans for Kerry rally.

Kerry was critical of President Bush -- as are the rest of the Democrat Presidential candidates leading up to Veteran’s Day on Nov. 11. Kerry stated over and over again in the veterans’ meeting that “President Bush has turned his back on veterans.” This, despite the fact that the Bush administration has increased funding to the Veterans Administration more in the last two years than the previous six years. Kerry used several personal stories to prove his point the administration was not doing enough to help veterans. (11/9/2003)

Kerry question

The question of whether Kerry will forego campaign financing will be decided in a matter of days, according to Kerry on Face the Nation appearance as reported by Reuters:

"We're going to make our decision over the course of the next day or so," Kerry said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "I'm disappointed that Governor Dean has taken a very different road than Democrats have stood for as a matter of principle."

Kerry referenced Dean’s reason of running against the Bush/Cheney Campaign millions as cowardly:

"I don't think that President Bush's money was as intimidating as Governor Dean wants to believe it was, because it's mostly special-interest money," Kerry said. "And I was perfectly prepared to run against that money." (11/9/2003)

Reaction to Dean’s money

The following are reactions to Dean’s foregoing federal campaign spending limits as reported by the Associated Press and the various Democratic presidential candidates’ websites:

"It's disappointing that Howard Dean so conveniently abandoned a long-held position of principle out of mere political expediency. After Howard Dean so passionately and ardently announced that if any candidate left the public system it would be an issue, then sought a political fig leaf in an Internet poll slyly worded to predetermine its results, it's clear an alleged straight talk candidacy has turned out to represent politics as usual," said Sen. John Kerry.

"I'm a strong believer in the campaign finance system. I think it brings integrity to the process. I'm disappointed Governor Dean has reversed his position." Sen. John Edwards.

"Forget all of the gimmicks and rationalizations, the plain truth is that Howard Dean wants to outspend his opponents in the early states and has therefore violated his pledge to stay within the public financing system. Just like President Bush, Howard Dean has effectively undermined campaign finance laws for his own personal, opportunistic political advantage." Rep. Dick Gephardt.

"It's a shame that Howard Dean has broken his word and abandoned his earlier pledge never to bypass the public financing system. America needs a leader who will stick to the promises he makes. We call on Governor Dean to comply with the spirit of the law — and his own previous statements — and pledge to spend no more than $45 million in the Democratic primaries and to limit his spending to the specific spending caps in the states." Sen. Joe Lieberman.

"I think it's important for people to look at what he said earlier and the pledge that he made. I think we'll leave it up to the people to decide whether this is a good or a bad thing," said Wesley Clark's spokesman, Kym Spell. (11/9/2003)

Kerry dumps manager

Sen. John Kerry fired his campaign manager Jim Jordan and gave the job to veteran Democratic operative Mary Beth Cahill. Reports are Jordan was being offered another position.

Cahill’s resume includes: Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Public Liaison for Bill Clinton; Director of EMILY's List, which provides financial and political assistance to candidates for office. She formerly served as the organization's political director. She has managed a number of gubernatorial, U.S. Senate, Congressional, and other political campaigns around the country. Ms. Cahill served as director of personnel and as director of the Washington, D.C., office of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts under Governor Michael Dukakis, and she has worked on the staffs of Representatives Robert Drinan and Barney Frank. She received a B.A. degree from Emmanuel College. (11/10/2003)

Straw poll

Florida is not the only one holding up Democrat Presidential candidates. Harrison County, Iowa Democrats thumbed their noses at national and state party rules forbidding straw polls. In their straw poll Kerry received 37 percent of the vote, and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean was second with 29 percent. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina had 19 percent, while Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri garnered 10 percent. The rest are not worth mentioning. The Harrison County Democrats shook down campaign supporters for a $10 ticket--  far less than Florida’s scheme. (11/10/2003)

Smooth, Kerry

Sen. John Kerry’s handling of breaking the news to the campaign staff about changes at the top was anything but smooth according to an Associated Press story:

In a conference call Sunday night, Kerry enraged much of his staff by mispronouncing the name of a top staff member at least once, and could be heard eating as he broke the news of Jordan's firing, which he called a "one-day story." Stung by his attitude, several aides said they were considering quitting the campaign.

More staff abandoning the Kerry campaign at this time could result in Kerry’s predictions in Iowa not coming true:

Asked how his campaign would change, Kerry told reporters in Iowa, "Watch over the next few weeks and you'll see it. You guys watch, we're doing great." (11/11/2003)

How embarrassing

ABC’s The Note is running Kerry’s former campaign manager Jim Jordan’s draft he apparently intended to send to his successor, Mary Beth Cahill:

RE: Big Bad John

Congratulations — you are inheriting a great national staff, a great Iowa staff, a great New Hampshire staff, and Judy Reardon's agita.

There ARE, however, some things to watch out for to make sure the machine continues to hum.

1. At the slightest provocation, particularly during live television interviews, The Candidate will throw the staff under the bus. For instance, I was once sacrificed on "Meet the Press" for some on-the-record criticism of HoHo that in retrospect reads in tone and substance like a Connie Morella press release compared to what The Candidate is now saying about Dean.

2. Make some sort of deal with a Boston-area milk company to get Michael Whouley's picture on cartons. We have to find the guy.

3. The Candidate is in Iowa today; may I suggest no custard stops?

4. The corollary of "Let The Spouse Be the Spouse" is "Let Chris Black Be Chris Black." You'll know what I mean shortly if you don't already.

5. I have no fu***** (REDACTED) idea what Cam is doing, but The Candidate seems to believe he is the second coming of Tad Devine.

6. Jeanne Shaheen seems smart, ruthless, and knowledgeable about how to win New Hampshire. But, then, I gather you two have been spending some time together lately, so you probably knew that.

7. If you can find a way to get the national political press corps to hold HoHo accountable for the things he says, more power to you. Most of them don't much like The Candidate, and don't cut him a break — ever. And I think there is a connection between those things.

8. You'll be tempted to ask the research shop to get you a memo on The Candidate's achievements in Congress. Save yourself some time and don't.

9. Often, we line up endorsements and come up with a plan about how to unveil them for maximum strategic effect. Remember: this works best if the endorsers don't just blurt out their support whenever they feel like it. Also, if you set up endorsement press conference calls, remind the endorsers not to trash the significance of their own endorsements.

10. Getting into Canada requires proper ID. (Actually, that one belongs on a different list — ignore it … .)

11. Bob Shrum was right — "The Courage to do What's Right" is a really effective campaign slogan.

12. Going to war publicly against the Boston Globe might make you feel good, but it won't effect what is the most relentlessly negative coverage of any presidential candidate EVER by a hometown paper — and I mean the news page. Don't even get me started on the op-ed page.

13. Your friend Jill Alper should run the world — see if you can make that happen.

14. You'll be wondering what the fourth-quarter fundraising number will be like. It's not something I want to commit to paper. Just have Gibbs practice in front of a mirror: "We'll have enough resources to get our message out."

15. I think we finally have an answer on the Iraq vote that works. As John Sasso always says, "8th time's the charm."

16. Best to get The Candidate to stop musing in public about decisions that he hasn't made yet. And, since we have budgeted to take those matching funds, make darn sure that The Candidate is fully ready to write a personal check before you let him make any announcement. In fact, I'd suggest having the check in hand — certified.

17. Finally, have fun. There are still a lot of people in the party like you who believe that The Candidate is the party's best and only hope of beating George Bush, and we have all seen moments and flashes in which John is That Man.

Your task, in the few short weeks you have, is to somehow make him perform at that level each and every day. There's no evidence it can be done, but you gotta try. You and New Hampshire can make The Candidate The Comeback Kid. (11/11/2003)

Kerry’s veterans message

Sen. John Kerry’s website offers a message to veterans on Veterans’ Day:

"When I was in Vietnam I learned a lot about the promises that soldiers make to each other. The Marines have a promise to never leave behind their dead. In this country, as citizen soldiers, we need to make the commitment to each other that we will never leave our veterans behind..." -- John Kerry  (11/11/2003)

Challenging the Commander-in-Chief

On the eve of Veterans Day, the veteran John Kerry previewed a new ad that asks the question: who can challenge the Commander in Chief? The ad also features President Bush declaring an end to major combat in Iraq in his flight suite on board the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. The Associated Press is reporting the content of the ad is:

Bush is shown congratulating troops on the carrier as an announcer describes Kerry as "a leader on national security, a decorated combat veteran" who can take on Bush on national security issues with more credibility than his rivals.

"He's fighting for you against the Bush tax cuts, giveaways for corporations and the wealthy. And his health care plan covers the uninsured and holds down costs," the ad says.

The announcer asks: "Who can take on George Bush and change the direction of the nation?"

The campaign reports that the airwaves of Iowa and New Hampshire will soon be bombarded with the ad. Senator Kerry campaigns in Arizona today. He appears on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He's in New Hampshire on Wednesday and Thursday, and Iowa on Friday and Saturday. (11/11/2003)

Get a clue

The possible lack of finesse with which John Kerry handled the dismissal of James Jordan may have contributed to Kerry’s loss of additional top campaign staff. Or, some may just feel they do not want to go down with ship. Whatever the situation, Mary Beth Cahill--  the new campaign chief -- has her work cut out for her.

Robert Gibbs, chief spokesman for the Kerry campaign, and deputy finance director Carl Chidlow quit in reaction to the firing of Jim Jordan, abruptly let go by Kerry Sunday night. Both expressed dissatisfaction with the campaign, according to officials.

Gibbs will be replaced by Stephanie Cutter, a former spokeswoman for Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and currently the spokeswoman for the Democratic National Convention. Cahill also was with the Kennedy before.

The Associated Press is reporting that a source of the problem was the fractious nature of the campaign and Kerry himself:

The staff shake-up consolidates power around Kennedy's former staff after months of internal division. Kerry's team has consisted of roughly three factions — his Washington team, paid consultants and friends and family from Boston. (11/12/2003)

Getting it right

Kerry did get something right yesterday in New Hampshire. According to the Manchester Union Leader, Kerry released a list of 400 New Hampshire veterans supporting his campaign, and sent a former senator and fellow Vietnam War veteran to campaign for him in the state – Max Cleland.

"We suffered the same war together. We don't want to see a new generation of Americans suffer again," former Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia said.  (11/12/2003)

Shrum’s curse?

The NY Times ran a story about Bob Shrum’s influence in the Kerry campaign.

As Democratic strategists go, Bob Shrum has long been considered one of the heavyweights: a talented speechwriter, an expert at debate preparations, an ideologically committed liberal who has a knack for distilling the essence of a candidate's message into a slogan, sound bite or 30-second commercial.

Shrum has advised a number of preisdential campaigns but has never won one. There is some criticism that Shrum is not up to the task of taking down Howard Dean and has not put the knife in. However, going negative in a multiple candidate field is a tricky issue. It takes great timing to bring your own negatives from attacking the opponent down.

Mr. Shrum has resisted those entreaties, campaign workers say. But one of Mr. Shrum's confidants defended his thinking this way: "This is not a two-person general election at the moment, where if you get into a mudfest and bang hard enough on the other guy, his favorables are going to go down. This is a nine-person field, where if the attacks strike people as too political, your unfavorables can go up, and it can cost you more than it can help you."  (11/12/2003)

About the money

We are still waiting for Kerry’s decision to opt in or out of federal campaign financing. The issue is how much money can he bring to the high stakes game? CBS’s Washington Wrap discusses how the Federal law bars Kerry from using any of his wife’s money. He may use 50 percent of any joint assets and he can use 100 percent of anything in his own name. It’s still unclear how her fortune is broken down, though it’s a pretty good chance that most of her money is unavailable to him since it’s in Heinz funds and trusts. Additionally, it’s too late for her to transfer any of her cash over to him without being in violation of campaign finance laws.  (11/12/2003)

Is there hope?

The Washington Post story offers Kerry supporters hope in the form of New Hampshire’s former governor Jeanne Shaheen. The story goes into Shaheen’s popularity and political skills as being one of the possibilities for Kerry to become “The Come Back Kid.” However, he has a long way to come back, according to some:

"New Hampshire will make Kerry or it will break Kerry. I don't think even a close second place will do it," said Dante Scala, a research fellow at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College in Manchester. "My sense is that it will be largely up to Shaheen to revive him, and if so that is the best news that campaign has gotten in some time. One thing Jeanne Shaheen knows how to do is win elections in New Hampshire." (11/13/2003)

Everybody’s an expert

In this case he is -- Howard Fineman of MSNBC offers an analysis of what is wrong with Kerry’s campaign:

EVERYTHING YOU needed to know about what’s wrong with the Kerry campaign was on display in Iowa the other day. For months, Kerry has been attacking Howard Dean for being “soft” on guns, since, as governor of Vermont, Dean had signed an NRA pledge to oppose federal and state limits on assault weapons. For just as many months (maybe more), Kerry has been intent on proving that he’s not a typical northeastern liberal — that he is, in fact, a tough-as-nails Vietnam war hero and former district attorney in Massachusetts, a man among men.

So what does he do in Iowa? He gives a speech championing gun control and on the same day goes out and shoots pheasant. (A superb marksman, by the way, he killed two birds with two shots.) The news stories and pictures were at war with each other: Was he for guns or agin’ ‘em? I know it’s possible to be both — for reasonable gun-control measures and for freedom to hunt with rifles. But just because you can have it both ways doesn’t mean you always should. Not on the same day in the same state on the same issue.  (11/13/2003)

Looking for traction

The Boston Globe writes about how Sen. John Kerry came back to his one note song about President Bush hurting the environment by supporting his corporate buddies:

"I'm running for president because, at every turn, George Bush has favored tax cuts for the wealthy and breaks for the special interests over the protection of this river and other rivers and streams all across America," Kerry said. "He is buckled to powerful lobbyists and special interests rather than standing up for the long-term interests of our children." (11/13/2003)

Never write anything down

There is an adage about never writing anything embarrassing down. However, the troops over at the Kerry campaign continued to thumb there noses at this fact according to ABC’c The Note:

So here, for the first time anywhere, is the latest passing-the-baton memo from the Kerry campaign — in this case from Robert Gibbs, who quit yesterday as press secretary, to Stephanie Cutter, who was named, titleless, to the communications team.



RE: Big Bad Media

Congratulations — you are inheriting a great Iowa press shop, a former New Hampshire governor with a big Granite megaphone, and Bob Shrum's yellow pad.

There ARE, however, some things to watch out for to make sure the machine continues to hum.

1. Okay, you're here, but you're not sure what your title is, what your duties are, who exactly will be left for you to work with and who you really report to. That's normal.

2. You worked for Kennedy. The Globe was your friend. Welcome to a new reality.

3. We used to take so much heat for being such a male-dominated campaign when I worked there (Granted — the Budweiser wall calendar didn't help.). With the arrival of the whole Kennedy team of gals, y'all boast more estrogen than a roomful of CNN bookers. You might want to play that up. On the other hand, if you thought the convention staff was white, wait until you see our gang.

4. When Halperin tells you, after a debate, that only one candidate on the stage looked presidential, he doesn't necessarily mean your candidate.

5. My very best lines and information comes from Gehrke, the finest research director in the entire business. But tap that well of knowledge fast, as he has at least 4 job offers (including 3 presidential campaigns not named "Kerry") from which to choose.

6. It's pronounced "LOO-EES." "LOO-EES."

7. Avoid the words "rats," "ship," "sinking," "leaking," "listing," "falling," "slowing," or "frontrunner."

8. Keep up the fight for full engagement. Jordan wasn't wrong about taking on Dean. The more you throw at him the more something might stick. The research folks camped out in Burlington for weeks, and they have hits that are even better than that NRA questionnaire. Howard Dean has never had an unexpressed thought. This should work against him but it seems to be overshadowed by the fact that our campaign has never had an original thought.

9. For all of those recently arrived and soon-to-come staffers who wonder if our recent changes will lead to more attacks on Dean or the high road, the answer is: "Yes."

10. Getting into Canada requires proper ID. (Actually, that one belongs on a different list — ignore it … .)

11. Putting Shaheen out in front on the "Vermont Miracle" issue is a good idea — NH Democrats do like her — but remember that after two terms in office, she could only carry 60% of the vote — in the primary.

12. Be sure to get up early to read all of the Dean news clips and web page material. It will give you advance notice of what The Candidate will be talking about all day. It is also a good source of ideas for our own web site.

13. New Hampshire residents hate taxes, Bostonians, gun control and incumbent senators. Find common ground, quick. And don't forget your E-Z Pass.

14. In planning for major speeches in South Carolina, try to limit staff to less than 1/4 the size of the audience.

15. If ever you should go on Fox News, don't compare The Candidate's comments about "being the candidate for white guys in the South with the Confederate flag in their windows" to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech. It just makes everyone look foolish.

16. It takes some time to whittle down The Candidate's responses … . "Mr. Change Your Opinion For Expediency" is actually much better than his original suggestion of "Mr. Arrogant Jerk who can't stick with a position to save his life but will run our party into the ground and get beaten like a red-headed stepchild by another arrogant jerk already in the White House."

17. Firing Jordan is a one-day story. My resignation is a one-day story. Trailing by double digits is a one-day story. 76 days left until NH — filling every day with a different story seems like a daunting task but the senior staff and The Candidate will help as much as possible.

18. If asked what The Candidate was eating when I announced I was leaving — just say "crow." This is now a two-day story. And counting.

19. John Kerry doesn't have a plan to win the war, but "The Bunny" has a plan to win the peace. (Note Note: we don't know what that means either.)

20. Even though we won't dip into her personal fortune, TH has a plan to build a new pro football stadium in each battleground state. No really, she does.

21. If asked: Yes, we're still very glad we won the Shrum Primary.

22. The Kerry Girls are off limits — wait that probably doesn't apply to you. But same goes for Chris Heinz.

23. Don't bother trying to get The Candidate to stop delivering those prostate cancer jokes.

24. All questions about Morgan Fairchild get forwarded to Chris Black.

25. Trust Benander as Obi-Wan Kenobi … because I do.

26. No custard stops. Period. Free vanilla treats will serve to only sour, not sweeten, the waiting press corps. (Note Note: you MUST click this link. LINK

27. Ad images of our candidate in committee hearings may not be screaming "foreign policy experience" as much as we like to Iowans.

28. Never fret about an event that is staffed by David Wade. After all had Wade rather than me been in the 603 area code, John Kerry would not have said "regime change."

29. Key point: try to figure out which consultant is nicknamed "Uday."

30. Warning signs that more senior staff might be fleeing: Morehouse forwards his phone to your cell with no warning.

31. Don't believe the rumors that the campaign is relocating to the Ketchum, Idaho in order to test the loyalty of the consultants.

32. Don't throw away that Amtrak Guest Rewards membership just yet.

33. Before every press avail, have The Candidate repeat after you: "I will not mutter 'Dean, Dean, Dean, Dean, Dean' around an open microphone."

34. AP writers are not just there to look at: feed them or they will piss all over your house.

35. A great debate performance will earn you little to no press, but a staff shakeup will get you above-the-fold stories and a regular rotation on Fox. Worth reminding The Candidate when he's complaining about lack of press coverage.

36. The next time The Candidate gets grumpy and masticates on the ineffectiveness of his staff, point to the Clark campaign's decision to attack Edwards over Hugh Shelton on Veterans Day as an example of how bad strategic decisions by staff (Lehane and Kym?) really can be. After that, you won't look that awful.

37. Changing the dynamics of a campaign will have a direct effect on the dynamics of the race, which in turn will dynamically cause some type of kinetic change in our overall dynamics.

38. For a quick, in-house poll you can always multiply the number of conference calls per day times the number of people on them, divide by the number of times Dean's name appears in our latest press release and then subtract the number of public appearances the candidate is scheduled to make. You should end up with the number of points between us and Dean on any given day in New Hampshire.

39. And remember, when Gephardt starts to gain on us in NH, Kerry only voted for the Iraq resolution, Dick sponsored it!

40. There are no Confederate flags on Nantucket.

41. Are you bringing Whouley down from Boston when you get here?

42. Two final words of wisdom, and you may ignore it, you make think this is just lip service, but I firmly believe it: Loyalty matters.

Your task, in the few short weeks you have, is to somehow make The Candidate perform at that his top level each and every day. There's no evidence it can be done, but you gotta try. You and New Hampshire can make The Candidate The Comeback Kid.   (11/13/2003)

Kerry’s top ten

Sen. John Kerry seems to have his press operations back on track with continued releases even on his favorite subject -- beating up Bush on the environment. John Kerry today promised to protect the environment and take on the Bush administration’s cozy relationship with corporate polluters and special interests. Fresh off an appearance on late-night television, Kerry released his own top ten list: George Bush's Top Ten Polluter Pleasers.

1. New roadblocks to improving fuel economy in automobiles. Reducing the transportation sector’s reliance on oil is clearly the key to improving our nation's energy security, yet Bush’s energy plan adds new requirements to the fuel efficiency standard setting process.

2. Does not decrease American dependence on foreign oil. Bush’s energy plan even strips out an agreement supported by Democrats and Republicans to reduce oil consumption by at least one million barrels per day by 2013.

3. Does not include accountability for developing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Bush’s energy plan provides billions of research dollars for hydrogen with no accountability for actually developing a fuel cell vehicle or achieving oil savings or pollution reductions.

4. Delays new protections from mercury pollution. Bush’s energy plan delays a new EPA rule that will set mercury thresholds for coal and oil-fired power plants putting public health for children and adults at further risk.

5. Letting polluters off the hook. Bush’s energy plan gives polluters a free pass for contaminating groundwater with MTBE and other fuel additives. This would mean that states and thousands of communities around the country will have no legal means of holding MTBE manufacturers responsible for the massive water pollution they have caused.

6. Rolls back clean air protections. Bush’s energy plan will waive anti-smog requirements in polluted cities that missed clean air requirements.

7. Exempts big oil from the Clean Water Act. Bush’s energy plan includes an exemption of oil and gas exploration and production activities from the Clean Water Act putting our drinking water supplies at risk.

8. Support for dirty energy sources, not renewables. Bush’s energy plan supports more than twice as many direct subsidies for dirty energy sources such as coal, oil and gas, and nuclear as for clean renewable energy such as wind, solar and geothermal.

9. No incentives to purchase fuel efficient vehicles. Bush’s energy plan fails to provide adequate tax breaks to help consumers buy fuel efficient vehicles.

10. Opening up sensitive lands to drilling by waiving environmental regulations. Bush wants to speed up energy exploration and development at the expense of environmental review and public participation putting our health of our environment at risk. (11/14/2003)

No Thanks

               The system is dead

Sen. John Kerry said no thanks to $18.7 million, and became the third candidate for President to join the reality that the federal campaign system is dead.

“As you know, this has not been an easy week in our campaign. But I’ve been in tougher spots than this before – and I’ve fought back and won. And we’re going to fight back now because I feel so strongly about the issues and about nominating a Democrat who can defeat George Bush.

“It wasn’t an easy decision, but I have no doubt it is the right one,” said Kerry.

Kerry’s decision was undoubtedly timed to bring focus on Howard Dean’s previous decision to forego the federal campaign finance system. Kerry pointed to his efforts at campaign finance reform and that he had not taken PAC contributions in past elections. He went on to challenge Dean.

“I wish Howard Dean had kept his promise to stay within the campaign finance system. But he did not. He changed the rules of this race – and anyone with a real shot at the nomination must now play by those rules. And today, let me be clear: I’m in this campaign to win the nomination and to defeat George Bush next November.

“Today, I also issue a challenge to Governor Dean. Senator Russ Feingold has called on all Democratic candidates who forgo matching funds to pledge that they will not spend more than the limit of $45 million until the nomination is decided. I accept that – and I call on Howard Dean to do the same. To show America that his decision was about beating George Bush and the special interests and not just about grabbing an advantage in the primaries,” said Kerry

Kerry’s alluding to the campaign’s poor performance this week is indicative of how important it is for Kerry to get his campaign moving. January elections have the problem of coming just after major holidays. It is traditional that after Iowa and New Hampshire not everyone remains in the hunt for the nomination, and those who do not know any better find the spotlight and megaphone for their campaigns turned off.

Kerry’s problem is being attributed to two factors. First and foremost Kerry and Dean share the same demographic constituencies of the mostly liberal wing of the Democrat Party. Second, Kerry voted for the war and that is the key focus of the campaign at this time.

"This guy's in a jam. I think it goes back to the war. I think he walled himself off from his own supporters. What it would take for Kerry to do well would be for the war to go away as an issue and the focus to shift to the economy and that's the opposite of what's happening. The more the focus is on the war, the greater the gap, the contrast, between Dean and Kerry is likely to be," political columnist Charlie Cook, editor of the Cook Political Report.

Kerry’s point where he has a clear advantage over Dean appears to be the environment. Unfortunately that is not a key deciding factor in who to vote for. If Kerry is to win back his constituency, it will have to come over the economy, where Kerry has a fighting chance. The real difficulty for Kerry is that it is not easy to be the Dean alternative candidate if he is like Dean.  (11/15/2003)

New! New Hampshire poll

Dean has expanded his lead in New Hampshire. The latest percentages are as follows: Dean – 38; Kerry – 16; Wesley Clark – 5; John Edwards - 5;, Joe Lieberman – 4; Dick Gephardt – 3; Dennis Kucinich –1; and Al Sharpton and Carol Moseley Braun had the support of less than 1 percent. The poll also showed that 27 percent were undecided. (11/15/2003)

Insider poll

This week's Democratic Insiders poll in the National Journal with 50 possible votes by the chosen few gives Dean 39; Gephardt 8. Twenty-nine of the 50 gave John Kerry bad marks -- one even said, "He's managed to combine the duplicity of the Gore campaign with the arrogance of the Dukakis campaign." Joe Lieberman also received 9 votes in the low-expectations category. (11/15/2003)

Debate quotes:
"I want America to be a land of hope again for all of our citizens. And I want us to come together ... and stand up and fight with confidence in our values and the willingness to defeat the Bush-Cheney-Ashcroft cynicism; give back hope, give back truth, give back the soul to our country," said John Kerry
"We have to run against a wartime president in a world that is suffering from terror. We need a president who knows how to reach out and build relationships across the planet," said Kerry. (11/25/2003)




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