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April 3, 2004
Kerry Didn't Always Master the Rope Line

Today's New York Times runs a puff piece -- typical weekend fare -- on John Kerry, this time on his supposed skills as a flesh-presser on the campaign trail:

Mr. Kerry, the all-but-nominated Democratic presidential candidate, has been criticized throughout his career for an aloof, inaccessible style on the stump, and his stemwinders are a constant worry for supporters of his White House bid. Yet he is proving adept at the more intimate political ritual of the rope line: the inevitable postspeech meet-and-greet over a rope placed as a security measure to keep the crowd from the candidate. It is a daily dance that has become a central, even dominant element of his schedule. In fact, he sometimes spends more time in that kind of chitchat than in delivering substantive speeches.

Jodi Wilgoren doesn't mention Kerry's most well-known rope-line moment from this campaign season, however (link to my post here):

Sen. John Kerry, all but officially the Democratic presidential nominee, called Republicans he is battling "crooked" Wednesday. ... "Keep smiling," one man said to him.

Kerry responded, "Oh yeah, don't worry man. We're going to keep pounding, let me tell you -- we're just beginning to fight here. These guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group of people I've ever seen."

Why would the New York Times talk about John Kerry's skills on the rope line and fail to mention this disastrous event that appears to have kicked off his month-long decline in the polls? This happened less than four weeks ago! Either Wilgoren is completely ignorant of it -- which calls into question her competence as a political correspondent -- or the Times has decided to ignore it in favor of synthesizing Kerry into a gregarious, likable candidate.

(cross-posted at Oh, That Liberal Media)

UPDATE: Eric at Classical Values has more information on Jodi Wilgoren.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 3, 2004 6:52 AM

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