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Friday, March 07, 2003

From The American Prospect:

Fast Runner by Mary Lynn F. Jones, a Prospect senior editor (posted March 5, 2003). Jones asks the question: Is John Kerry peaking too early? In other words, will John Kerry's early emergence as the Democratic front-runner lead to excessive scrutiny that will make it difficult to refine his message and campaign strategy? Jones offers the campaign of John Edwards as a cautionary tale; he got a lot of attention early, but before long much of that attention was negative. While Kerry's position as front-runner is undoubtedly enviable, he will have to avoid overexposure and negative press to maintain his advantage. See also Jones' November 26, 2002 article on Edwards, Edwards Isn't For Real.

Meet Mr. Credibility by Michael Tomasky (posted March 1, 2003). Tomasky looks at the possible candidacy of retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who was NATO commander during the Kosovo operation. Clark has not said whether he will run, but Tomasky believes that he could be a strong candidate. Democrats are strong on many issues in the minds of voters, but national security is not one of them. With his military background, Clark could help to reverse this perception in the upcoming general election, especially when paired against a candidate with as little military experience as George W. Bush. Clark has been a harsh critic of the Bush administration's unilateralism and its planned war against Iraq, and he favors more careful use of U.S. military power. Still unknown, however, is whether Clark will be good at campaigning.

The Tough Dove's Moment by Harold Meyerson (posted March 1, 2003). Meyerson presents a profile of John Kerry that is part biography and part campaign analysis. He focuses particularly on Kerry's message regarding the war against Iraq. Kerry voted for the resolution on Iraq, but he has criticized the Bush administration's unilateral approach. This stance is relatively safe. If the war turns into a military or economic disaster for the United States, hawks such as Lieberman (and Bush) will be hurt, and if it is quick and mostly painless (for the U.S.), the antiwar candidates such as Dean and Kucinich will suffer. Kerry's position could help him remain a viable candidate no matter what happens.

Liebermama by Garance Franke-Ruta (posted March 1, 2003). Franke-Ruta discusses the role of Joe Lieberman's mother in his campaign. Although her overall impact will surely be minor, she could have a positive "humanizing effect" on the image of Lieberman, but she could also contribute to the image that Joe Lieberman is too "nice" to be an effective leader.

Left Unsaid by Michael Tomasky, a Prospect columnist (posted Feb 26, 2003). Tomasky looks at the candidacy of Howard Dean, and decides that the press is misinterpreting his message. Dean has positioned himself as an "unabashedly liberal" candidate who is not afraid to take an antiwar stance and harshly criticize the Bush administration. But Tomasky believes that Dean has a pragmatic side to him as well. He doesn't promote peace for its own sake, but rather "multilateralism"--which a majority of Americans still claim to prefer over the "unilateralism" of the Bush administration. His liberal rhetoric could be useful for inspiring Democrats who have been "afraid" of the right wing for so long, but it is not extreme enough to make Dean unelectable.

Shortsighted Longshots by Mary Lynn F. Jones, a Prospect senior editor (posted Feb 20, 2003). Jones says that the entry of Kucinich and Moseley Braun into the race for the Democratic nomination could hurt the eventual nominee. She says that they have no chance of winning the nomination themselves, but they could take resources away from those who actually have a chance. Kucinich can take away antiwar voters from Howard Dean, because Kucinich arguably has a stronger antiwar image--Dean didn't vote at all on the resolution authorizing force against Iraq, Kucinich opposed it. Moseley Braun is trying to win the votes of women and African-Americans. Jones believes that the race should be left to serious candidates, and that Moseley Braun and Kucinich should find some other way to get their voices heard instead of trying to win money and votes.

Name Game by Mary Lynn F. Jones, a Prospect senior editor (posted Feb 11, 2003). Recently, John Kerry's wife Teresa Heinz changed her name to Teresa Heinz Kerry. Heinz official spokeswoman says that she made the change because Kerry's advisors feared that a different last name would be "confusing." Jones says that the real reason is that Kerry's campaign does not want to risk having an "independent" woman running for first lady. Laura Bush in 2000 played a quiet 1950's-style housewife, and was either liked or unnoticed by most voters. Hillary Rodham Clinton was outspoken and "modern" (and she incorporated her maiden name "Rodham" into her full name), and she was a magnet for criticism and hatred. Surely, Kerry does not want to make his wife appear to be another Hillary, and a different last name would be a clear sign of "excessive" independence. Jones argues that this decision is a bad sign for the status of women in modern political life.

--Posted at 4:19 AM | link

Thursday, March 06, 2003

From The Nation:

The Democratic Beauty Contest by David Corn, Washington editor for The Nation (posted Feb 25, 2003). Corn describes the speeches given by most of the Democratic presidential candidates at a meeting of the Democratic National Committee. Dean, Edwards, Gephart, Kucinich, Lieberman, Moseley Braun, and Sharpton gave speeches, while Kerry was absent due to his prostate cancer surgery.

Racing Into 2004: The Primaries Are in Full Swing by John Nichols, Washington correspondent for The Nation (posted Jan 30, 2003). Now that Bush's approval ratings are beginning to slide, Nichols says, Democrats are starting to believe that they have a decent shot of winning the White House in 2004. The race for Democratic nominee is already well under way, and money and support gained in the next few months could be decisive. Nichols examines the progress made by the candidates so far, and the strategies that they will use to win support over the coming months.

Regressive Progressive? by Katha Pollitt, columnist for The Nation (posted May 9, 2002). In this article from a while back, Katha Pollitt slams Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich for his weak stand in favor of abortion rights. Pollitt points out that Kucinich has received a "95 percent position rating from the National Right to Life Committee, versus 10 percent from Planned Parenthood and 0 percent from NARAL." Kucinich claims to be pro-choice, but he has voted against various forms of funding for abortion (which makes him "solidly anti-choice" in Pollitt's eyes). Kucinich is running as a strongly antiwar candidate, but his record on abortion could hurt his standing among the liberals he needs to win the nomination.
--Posted at 4:46 PM | link

Bad news for President Bush: This poll conducted by Quinnipiac University indicates that if the election were held today, he would lose to a Democrat. Of course, it is still too early to draw conclusions about 2004 based on this. The outcome of the nearly-inevitable war and the state of the economy in 2004 are still unknown, and these will be extremely important factors.
--Posted at 3:33 PM | link

Every so often, I'm going to post links to online magazine articles. Here are some articles that I found in current and past issues of The New Republic.

Tar Pit by Jason Zengerle, associate editor at The New Republic (posted March 4, 2003). According to Zengerle, the Bush administration is already trying to hurt Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. The White House is supporting Republican Representative Richard Burr to run against John Edwards for his Senate seat. This might force Edwards to make an early choice between running for President and running for Senate. Furthermore, it forces Edwards to move in two political directions at once--leaning left to win the Democratic nomination for president, and leaning right to keep the support of voters in conservative North Carolina.

State of Peace by Ryan Lizza, associate editor at The New Republic (posted Feb 27, 2003). This article discusses candidates campaigning in Iowa, a state in which "polls confirm that the Democratic electorate is more opposed to invading Iraq than Democrats are nationally." Pro-war Democrats, such as John Edwards and Joe Lieberman, will have a much harder time winning votes in Iowa than antiwar Democrats, such as Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich. The article explains where certain candidates stand on the war, and it also suggests reasons for Iowa's antiwar tendencies.

Front Load by Ryan Lizza, associate editor at The New Republic (posted Feb 13, 2003). This article discusses John Kerry's emergence as front-runner in the race for Democratic nominee. With Kerry considered the man to beat, some other candidates are hurt while others benefit. Lieberman is hurt because he should be the front-runner at this point, thanks to name recognition alone. The fact that he is not the leader exposes weakness in his campaign. Other candidates can enjoy being able to "get away" with a lot more, since Kerry's campaign will be the one attracting most of the attention.

Light Touch by Sam Tanenhaus (posted Feb 12, 2003). Tanenhaus examines the candidacies of three Democratic senators--John Edwards, John Kerry, and Joe Lieberman--who are seeking the presidency. Only two senators have been elected to the White House since 1900: Warren G. Harding, and John F. Kennedy. Tanenhaus says that Kennedy's campaign should be the model for the senators in the current race.

Run On by Ryan Lizza, associate editor at The New Republic (posted Jan 30, 2003). The first President Bush won the war against Iraq but failed to win re-election. This article discusses the second Bush's moves to avoid this outcome in his most recent State of the Union address. Lizza argues that after veering sharply to the right during his first few years in office, Bush is trying to make himself look like a centrist again. His address covered many of the domestic issues on which Democrats are traditionally stronger, and made many moderate-sounding proposals.

Stage Left by Ryan Lizza, associate editor at The New Republic (posted Jan 23, 2003). Six Democratic candidates--Howard Dean, John Edwards, Dick Gephardt, John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, and Al Sharpton--recently delivered speeches to NARAL Pro-Choice America. All six told the group what it wanted to hear, even Gephardt, who was once pro-life and differs with abortion activists over the issue of "partial-birth" abortion.


--Posted at 2:32 AM | link

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Here is a page with information about declared and undeclared Presidential candidates: http://www.politics1.com/p2004.htm. It provides biographies of each of the potential candidates, and also gives information about those who have explicitly decided NOT to run.

Another possibly useful site is here: http://www.vote-smart.org/election_president.php. It also provides biographies of presidential candidates, as well as information such as state primary dates.

Because the field of candidates is so large at this point, I will not be following all campaigns. Instead, I will focus on those campaigns that seem most likely to succeed, or that are receiving a lot of media attention. While it would be nice to follow the campaigns of the 30-some independent candidates, I don't have the time to do so.
--Posted at 4:19 PM | link

Hi everyone. This is a test post to the unofficial blog of the 2004 Presidential Campaign. On this site, you'll find links to articles about the 2004 race for President of the United States, supplemented occasionally by my own analysis. If this blog becomes popular enough, I might move it off of Blogspot and onto my own website.
--Posted at 2:44 AM |
link

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