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The New York Times takes a look at the Bush momentum coming out of the Republican convention as George Bush goes stumping across Ohio to firm up his support. John Kerry attacked Bush for raising the price of Medicare even though the benefits have been widely expanded, suggesting that Halliburton should pay for the increases without explaining why. And in the meantime, the Kerry campaign suddenly shifted positions on convention bounces, trying to pass off Bush's sudden upsurge as a passing phenomenon:
Fortified by new polls showing him with a clear lead over Senator John Kerry, President Bush talked of economic renewal and tried to blunt Democratic attacks on his economic record as both he and Mr. Kerry campaigned Saturday across northeastern Ohio.
"In order to make sure this economy grows, we've got to make sure we keep your taxes low," Mr. Bush said in Kirtland, Ohio, lampooning Mr. Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate, as a big-government liberal "who has already promised over $2 trillion of new federal programs."
"That's a lot, even for a senator from Massachusetts," Mr. Bush said, as the crowd booed.
Mr. Kerry, cruising by bus from Akron to Steubenville, criticized Mr. Bush over job losses and health care as he campaigned in this economically battered state for a second straight day. His aides also released a hard-hitting new advertisement showing Mr. Bush promising on Thursday night at the Republican convention to help the elderly, a day before federal officials announced the biggest-ever dollar increase in Medicare premiums, raising the monthly cost by $11.60, to $78.20. ...
"Let me ask you something: Who are they going to send the bill to?" he said of the Medicare rate increase. "Are they going to send it to Halliburton? Are they going to send it to Ken Lay and Enron? You bet they're not; they're going to send the bill to our senior citizens."
First off, the cost of the Medicare increase will wind up being spread out to all American taxpayers, not just the seniors and disabled who benefit from it. Second, what's wrong with asking people to contribute to their own health insurance? Why should the only people who are exempt from funding this benefit be the ones who actually benefit from it? Associating this with Halliburton only emphasizes the conspiracy-theory lunacy that Kerry has now embraced on the campaign trail, marginalizing him even further with centrists but making the International ANSWER Deaniacs ecstatic with joy.
In the meantime, after weeks of explanations from the Democrats that conventions no longer produce poll bounces, the party line has changed without explanation. Now, Kerry campaign spokespeople assert that they anticipated Bush's eleven-point bounce all along, and Eastasia has always been at war with Oceania:
Tad Devine, a senior strategist for Mr. Kerry, said that he was not surprised by the gains for Mr. Bush in the polls but that he did not expect them to last.
"Typically, incumbent presidents reach a high in terms of the horse race right after their conventions," he said, adding that Mr. Bush's edge should start slipping away quickly.
The Kerry campaign has become quite adept at spinning away the bad news. It's a talent that will be put to good use over the next 60 days if they can't quit talking about Viet Nam and start making sense about issues that matter now.Sphere It View blog reactions
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