Stephen Hess, presidential scholar at the "fanatical moderate" Brookings Institution, is in the bag for Bush -- he does a fine job reciting the GOP talking points to the New York Post's Deborah Orin:
..."The ads are particularly good for Bush because they show his temperament and optimism - John Kerry couldn't have done those ads because he's too brittle. Bush seems so much more comfortable in his own skin," said presidential scholar Stephen Hess.
Hess, who's at the Brookings Institution, scoffed at Democratic complaints that Bush is exploiting the 9/11 tragedy by using imagery of a flag flying defiantly at Ground Zero. "It's perfectly appropriate," Hess said....
Stephen Hess, meet the 9/11 victims' relatives and co-workers:
The Bush reelection campaign yesterday unveiled its first three campaign commercials showcasing Ground Zero images, angering some 9/11 families who accused President Bush of exploiting the tragedy for political advantage.
"It's a slap in the face of the murders of 3,000 people," said Monica Gabrielle, whose husband died in the twin tower attacks. "It is unconscionable."
Gabrielle and several other family members said the injury was compounded by Bush's refusal to testify in open session before the 9/11 commission.
"I would be less offended if he showed a picture of himself in front of the Statue of Liberty," said Tom Roger, whose daughter was a flight attendant on doomed American Airlines Flight 11. "But to show the horror of 9/11 in the background, that's just some advertising agency's attempt to grab people by the throat."
Mindy Kleinberg said she was offended because the White House has not cooperated fully with the commission and because of the sight of remains being lifted out of Ground Zero in one of the spots.
"How heinous is that?" Kleinberg asked. "That's somebody's [loved one]."
Firefighter Tommy Fee in Rescue Squad 270 in Queens was appalled.
"It's as sick as people who stole things out of the place. The image of firefighters at Ground Zero should not be used for this stuff, for politics," Fee said....
Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani gets an A+ for successfully memorizing and reciting the #1 Bush talking point:
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani jabbed Democratic candidate John Kerry yesterday, charging the senator has flip-flopped on terrorism. "One thing I admire about [Bush] is his consistency," Giuliani said. "On the other side, we have a lot more inconsistency." ...
I'm not privy to the Bushies' focus groups, but I don't get this line of attack. Iraq is heading deeper and deeper into chaos, U.S. jobs have bought a one-way ticket to India, the deficit gets bigger and bigger ... isn't "consistency" the problem?
I also don't understand this Bush ad script:
Audio: ...[President Bush:] And as the economy grows, the job base grows and somebody who's looking for work will be more likely to find a job.
I know exactly where I want to lead this country; I know what we need to do to make the world more free and more peaceful. I know what we need to do to make sure every person has a chance at realizing the American dream. I know what we need to do to continue economic growth so people can find work, to raise the standards at schools so children can learn, to fulfill the promise to America's seniors....
The message here seems to be: "Your perception that times are tough is just wrong. I'm doing everything right, and I'm 100% certain that I don't need to rethink anything." This is going to get him reelected?
And I'm puzzled by this:
...the Bush team is also making national cable buys on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC, ESPN, Fox Sports and others, in an effort to reach a broader audience beyond viewers of news programs. One set of ads will air around a NASCAR event, with an audience that Bush has already targeted by making a guest appearance at the Daytona 500 in Florida last month....
White men -- he's targeting white men. Does he really need to do this? Is he really fighting to retain his base?