September 22, 2004


Kerry Pulls Campaign Ads From Four States (RON FOURNIER, 9/22/04, AP)

Bowing to political realities, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has canceled plans to begin broadcasting television commercials in Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana and the perennial battleground of Missouri.

He was never going to win them, but he sort of needs to stay close in LA and AR if they're going to hold the Senate seats.

MORE:,1,4942002.column?coll=bal-oped-headlines>The state that Kerry can't afford to lose (Jules Witcover, September 22, 2004, Baltimore Sun)

Of all the swing states up for grabs on Nov. 2, none is more critical for Sen. John Kerry than Michigan. Because of its strong labor base and traditional party organizational base, the Democratic nominee can hardly afford a loss in this state.

Put another way, perhaps the surest means for President Bush to nail down his re-election would be to deny Michigan and its 17 electoral votes to Mr. Kerry. Since the Depression, Michigan has gone Democratic in most presidential elections, though in 1980 and 1984 Ronald Reagan made deep inroads among blue-collar workers, thereafter known as the Reagan Democrats, and carried the state.

But without Mr. Reagan on the ballot, many of these Republican-voting Democrats, centered largely in the working-class suburbs of Macomb and Oakland counties north of Detroit, returned to the party fold. They voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996 and four years ago for Al Gore. Macomb County went for Mr. Gore 49 percent to 47 percent, and he carried Michigan 51-46.

Of the old Reagan Democrats, Macomb Democratic Chairman Ed Burley says: "A lot of them are dead. I think we've moved past that whole notion of things. We're not the poster child of the Reagan Democrats we used to be."

Mr. Burley's predecessor during their heyday, Leo LaLonde, says, "Most of them have turned into Republicans." And former Democratic Gov. James J. Blanchard, now campaigning for Mr. Kerry, notes that even before Mr. Reagan, many blue-collar Democrats in Macomb and Oakland counties were "Wallace Democrats," conservative supporters of Alabama Gov. George Wallace.

But overall, Mr. Blanchard says, Michigan has a progressive tradition that gives Mr. Kerry a strong shot here. A recent Gallup Poll for CNN and USA Today had him ahead among likely voters, 50-44, though other polls show it closer.

If Senator Kerry only leads by 4 points in MI on November 1 he'll lose it on November 2.

-Kerry in a Struggle for a Democratic Base: Women (KATHARINE Q. SEELYE, 9/22/04, NY Times)

It was no accident that John Kerry appeared Tuesday on "Live With Regis and Kelly'' and recalled his days as a young prosecutor in a rape case. Or that he then flew from New York to Jacksonville, Fla., to promote his health care proposals. Or that on Thursday in Davenport, Iowa, he will preside over a forum on national security with an audience solely of women.

These appearances are part of an energetic drive by the Kerry campaign to win back voters that Democrats think are rightfully theirs: women.

In the last few weeks, Kerry campaign officials have been nervously eyeing polls that show an erosion of the senator's support among women, one of the Democratic Party's most reliable constituencies. In a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted last week, women who are registered to vote were more likely to say they would vote for Mr. Bush than for Mr. Kerry, with 48 percent favoring Mr. Bush and 43 percent favoring Mr. Kerry.

In 2000, 54 percent of women voted for Al Gore, the Democratic nominee, while 43 percent voted for Mr. Bush.

Democratic and Republican pollsters say the reason for the change this year is that an issue Mr. Bush had initially pitched as part of an overall message - which candidate would be best able to protect the United States from terrorists - has become particularly compelling for women. Several said that a confluence of two events - a Republican convention that was loaded with provocative scenes of the Sept. 11 tragedy, and a terrorist attack on children in Russia - had helped recast the electoral dynamic among this critical group in a way that created a new challenge for the Kerry camp.

It's the last week of September and they have to win back their base?

-Why women are edging toward Bush: 'Security moms' are putting national safety at the top of their list, weakening a traditionally Democratic base. (Linda Feldmann, 9/23/04, CS Monitor)

According to [Celinda] Lake, 66 percent of undecideds are women.

One of Bush's not-so-secret weapons is his wife, Laura, the most popular figure on the campaign trail. Kerry's wife, Teresa, a foreign-born billionaire, is not as accessible to middle America, and is less well-known to the public, pollsters say.

And undecideds vote for the incumbent president.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 22, 2004 5:50 PM

Although Al Qaida may try to influence things as they did in Spain. Would Kerry try to take advantage of a terrorist attack in America in the last week before polling? And would Americans act the same way as the Spanish?

Posted by: A at September 22, 2004 6:25 PM

So Kerry finds himself in the position of hoping for a mass-casualty terror attack on the US homeland because it might boost his campaign--though it probably wouldn't.

Ye gods.

Posted by: Mike Morley at September 22, 2004 6:53 PM

"And would Americans act the same way as the Spanish?"

No. Americans would be marching and sending emails and telegrams to Washington demanding that the President push the damn red button.

Posted by: ray at September 22, 2004 7:11 PM

Baghdad is our Madrid, and JFK is jumping on it.

Posted by: David Cohen at September 22, 2004 8:05 PM

What would truly be great is a debate between the wives. Maybe in a few weeks things will look so bad that JFK's sugar mama will push him to let her take a shot at it...

Posted by: brian at September 22, 2004 8:15 PM

Debate or catfight?

Posted by: Ken at September 22, 2004 8:39 PM

If Baghdad is our Madrid, then John F. Kerry had better start campaigning in the souk, because he won't get any help if bombs go off every day between now and Nov. 2 unless he has blood on his shirt.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 22, 2004 8:45 PM

OK, I still think Kerry will take Michigan, but quoting JAMES BLANCHARD?? Asking Blanchard about winning in Michigan is like asking Carter for national security advice. If Blanchard thinks Kerry will win, maybe Bush has a shot in MI after all.

Posted by: MarkD at September 22, 2004 8:57 PM

Women make up only 66% of undecideds? I find that hard to believe based on my life experiences.

Posted by: JAB at September 22, 2004 10:04 PM

AQ already influenced the election, Beslan. During the pubbie convention.

Timing is everything.

Posted by: Sandy P at September 22, 2004 11:07 PM

Umm, Mike???

That sentiment you described was discussed in the dem underbelly already. I'm sure somewhere in DU's archives, if they have such a thing.

Posted by: Sandy P at September 22, 2004 11:08 PM

JAB - good one.
Kerry supposedly had a ton of money to spend. If he's pulling these ads is he going to blanket a few states or use it as his retirement fund?
As for LA and AR, I still wonder if the Dem senate candidates are better off with Kerry not advertising in their states since then they can distance themselves from him.

Posted by: AWW at September 23, 2004 12:30 AM
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