Friday, December 26, 2003
Bush Advisors Decide to Run Against 'Angry' Dean
President Bush's campaign has settled on a plan to run against Howard Dean that would portray him as reckless, angry and pessimistic, while framing the 2004 election as a referendum on the direction of the nation more than on the president himself, Mr. Bush's aides say.
"Voters don't normally vote for an angry, pessimistic person to be president of the country," Matthew Dowd, a senior Bush adviser, said as he pressed the anti-Dean theme this week in an interview at Mr. Bush's re-election campaign headquarters. "They want somebody, even if times are not great, to be forward looking and optimistic."
As the second part of a two-part strategy, Mr. Bush's aides said, the president will set out upbeat themes and policy ideas, starting with the State of the Union address on Jan. 20. That would be part of a drive to buttress what polls show is a growing feeling among voters that the country is on the right track.
Mr. Bush, some of his own strategists and advisers said, has a long way to go if he wants to avoid being portrayed as a divisive figure who motivates Democrats to vote against him. As a result, the White House is considering using the State of the Union address to propose a big new national goal that would not be partisan or ideological and would help rally the country behind Mr. Bush's leadership, an outside adviser to the administration said. The possibilities floated by the White House include a major initiative for the space program or an ambitious health care goal like increasing life expectancies.
el - but the country is on the wrong track. They still underestimate Dean. Easy to do. I had been underestimating when Dean will have the nomination sewed up. It will occur in March.