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September 6, 2004
At Least He Has Experience With Meltdowns

John Kerry has shaken up his campaign staff after a disastrous August which in two polls has seen him suffer a nineteen-point turnaround, in a year where the electorate supposedly only can shift three or four points overall. However, his new addition to the campaign may raise more eyebrows than confidence in his ability to turn the Kerry campaign around:

Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, under pressure to bring new focus to his campaign, added a veteran political strategist to his travelling campaign entourage, rounding out changes to his senior staff.

Democratic National Committee General Election Manager John Sasso will become the senior campaign staffer aboard the Kerry campaign plane, a key role in the final weeks leading up to the election.

Sasso's rsum includes a stint managing the failed 1988 presidential campaign of Michael Dukakis.

In a campaign that already reminds too many people of the Dukakis disaster -- where the Democrat built a seventeen-point lead, only to throw it away on a tank ride -- adding Sasso will only strengthen the comparisons between Dukakis and his former lieutenant governor. Besides, why select a man who had such a meltdown on his record to rescue Kerry from an identical collapse? Obviously, Sasso couldn't do it with Dukakis, or did I miss the Dukakis Administration?

Otherwise, the rest of the additions and changes reflect a return to Clinton's power base:

* Joe Lockhart is taking over communications and strategy
* Doug Sosnik and Joel Johnson have been added as political advisors

More Clinton aides will undoubtedly jump on board as requested. Meanwhile, CNN reports that Stephanie Cutter, whose hysterical and self-contradictory rants in response to the onlsaught of negative information coming out regarding Kerry, will keep her title but will be functionally demoted to spokesperson instead of running communications. And Mary Beth Cahill, who had been the architect of the Kerry campaign, will also take a back seat to Sasso. No word on her new duties has been released.

Kerry's staff says that these changes are the "normal evolution" of a presidential campaign, but I can't remember the last time the Democrats needed to sack a communications director and campaign manager in the days immediately following a Republican convention. Nor do I recall a pattern of yanking control from the candidate's own longtime staffers in favor of campaigners from a previous administration.

Make no mistake -- despite the spin coming from the Kerry campaign, the Democrats are in full panic mode, and they don't trust John Kerry to lead them out of it. That's why the Clintonistas have taken command of the campaign. And if they don't trust Kerry to lead them through hard times, why should we?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 6, 2004 9:13 AM

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