George W. Bush is running a challenger's campaign against John Kerry. I can't decide if this is reassuring or unsettling.
Though Kerry is gearing up for a major July ad blitz, the only ads airing this weekend are in New Mexico. The Republican 527 Progress for America Voter Fund is running an ad attacking Kerry's terrorist fighting credentials:
Script: Male narrator: "9/11. A leader showed strength and compassion. President Bush. He held us together and began to hunt down terrorist killers. But what if Bush wasn't there? Could John Kerry have shown this leadership? The Kerry who voted against billions for America's intelligence even after the first World Trade Center bombing. The Kerry who voted against 13 weapons systems our troops depend on. President Bush will win this war on terror. Progress for America Voter Fund is responsible for the content of this ad."Kerry responds with a relentlessly positive ad:
Announcer: "He's a husband and father. A pilot, a hunter, a hockey player. Tough prosecutor, advocate for kids. Nineteen years Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Author of a strategy to win the war on terror. A combat veteran who has been praised by former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under both Presidents Reagan and Clinton. Stronger at Home. Respected in the World. John Kerry for President."Bush-Cheney responds to Kerry's ad by attacking Kerry's 1997 book. Even the liberal New Republic disagreed with Kerry's book:
Kerry: "I'm John Kerry and I approved this message."
Bush: "I'm George W. Bush and I approve this message."
Announcer: "John Kerry says he's 'Author of a strategy to win the war on terror?' ... Against the Japanese yakuza. Never mentions al-Qaida. Says nothing about Osama bin Laden. Calls Yasser Arafat a 'statesman.' The New Republic says Kerry's plan 'misses the mark.' And Kerry's focus? Global crime, not terrorism. How can John Kerry win a war if he doesn't know the enemy?"
Bush's campaign has featured "unprecedented negativity," it has "accented the negative." And accused Positive John of playing dirty.