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September 5, 2004
Fournier: Bush Nears Electoral College Target

In a dramatic reversal highlighting the rapid decline of the John Kerry campaign, the AP's political analyst Ron Fournier reports that George Bush has firmed up at least 237 Electoral College votes at this point in the election:

The race is spread over 19 states, with the fiercest competition in Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico and Pennsylvania, according to state polls and interviews with strategists in both parties.

Two months before Election Day, the president has 20 states firmly in his column and eight leaning his way, for a total of 237 electoral votes. It takes 270 to win the White House.

The Democratic challenger has 11 states plus the District of Columbia in hand, with five states leaning his way. That puts Kerry at 211 electoral votes.

Normally, this kind of pre-election tallying would be of little note, except that these results have reversed themselves over the past two weeks. Kerry held an EC lead up to that point, when questions about Kerry's leadership, honesty, and integrity began to find purchase and Kerry disappeared from view. He has not been interviewed by a legitimate media resource since August 1st, when the Swiftboat ads began to find play and the book Unfit For Command went into wide release. At one point this summer, Kerry scolded Bush for not participating in enough press conferences and promised to hold one every month.

It's now been five weeks since Kerry even made himself available to the press. Incumbent presidents can sometimes hide in the Oval Office and try to look busy in order to avoid media scrutiny, but it doesn't look very good; Carter tried it, and look where it got him. Challengers need to be aggressive, not go into hiding, and the public rightly assumes that Kerry disappeared in order to avoid tough questions about his Christmas In Cambodia fables and contradictory testimony from Kerry himself on his combat record, a subject that wouldn't exist had Kerry not wrapped himself in his medals early on as his primary qualification for office.

Fournier puts it another way in another context, but his conclusion also applies to the Invisible Candidate strategy as well:

As he opened the fall campaign by criticizing Bush's economic record, Kerry said Friday, "The president wants you to re-elect him? For what?"

Voters will be asking a similar question: You want us to send an incumbent president into early retirement. For what?

If Kerry can't bring himself to meet the media in order to answer the questions that they and the voters have, why should we trust him with the highest office? Why should we vote for the man who erupts with anger when we dare question the only qualifications he's presented for the office he seeks? Why should we trust our national security to a man who's too afraid to come out and meet with the media? And why should we trust the political party that openly threatens a smear campaign rather than pushes their candidate in front of a microphone to answer for himself?

Kerry can't win this election hiding behind Susan Estrich's skirts like a frightened little boy. If he wants to regain some momentum, he needs to act like a man, answer our questions, and then drop the entire Viet Nam routine and focus on issues that have meaning now.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 5, 2004 8:22 AM

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» Reversal from gregstruth
Reversals in polls over the last two weeks seem to be rolling in everyday. Blogs for Bush note that Newsweek and Time are showing Bush with an 11 point lead, this morning Captain Quarters is posting on an AP Electoral College analysis that shows a majo... [Read More]

Tracked on September 5, 2004 9:03 AM

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