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The GOP in NYC: It is Done

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Day 4 Recap:

- President George W. Bush took center stage last night, accepting the GOP nomination and trumpeting his administration's record over the last four years. In the Bizarro world of W's mind, phony Medicare "reform" is not really a sop to huge drug companies; tax cuts that have fueled a record breaking budget deficit are growing the economy, not tanking it; millions of lost jobs were the fault of Bill Clinton and 9/11 (not necessarily in that order); and the war in Iraq has dealt a devastating blow to terrorists everywhere (just ask the citizens of Spain, Israel, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq itself how well they think the war on terror is going).

He did propose a laundry list of expensive programs he says he'd implement in a second term, never explaining how he would pay for them without raising taxes. For that matter, he never mentioned how he would reduce the deficit, as he promised to do if re-elected. He did find time to remind us of 9/11 (oh yeah, we got attacked! crap, we had almost forgotten!) and denigrate John Kerry as a flip-flopping liberal and craven internationalist. His strategery (sic) is obvious: be as bland and non-specific as possible, selling himself as the devil we know, all the while smearing Kerry through his surrogates. And, you know, it just might work.

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- John Kerry finally came out swinging last night in a unique midnight campaign stop that he hoped would help him shed his "girlie-man" image and, hopefully, stop the death by a thousand cuts that Karl Rove and his minions have been perpetrating on him. He attacked Cheney and Bush for their avoidance of service in Vietnam, as well as their failed economic and foreign policies. The risk, of course, is that Republicans will paint him as some wild-eyed, unsteady loose cannon (as if), while letting Bush play the calm, controlled, Presidential type.

Campaign Preview:

- The gloves are off. This thing is going to get very, very ugly.

- Kerry's apparent shift in tactics will finally answer that burning question: What happens when you stand up to Karl Rove and Co.? Is that their Achilles heel? Or are you playing right into their hands?

- It will be interesting to see how much of a bounce, if any, Bush receives from the convention. The race was extremely close going in to this week (though Bush had made inroads, thanks to the Swiftboat Vets), and any positive poll numbers will mean that the President is plucking support from the dwindling pool of undecided voters, which would be bad news, indeed, for Kerry.

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- How will it play in Ohio and Pennsylvania? These two states figure to see a lot of Messrs. Bush and Kerry over the next two months. Both are critical to victory for either candidate.

Also:

Who has the momentum going into the general campaign? Is Bush due for a big bounce? Or will the Kerry counterattack pay dividends for the Dems? You tell us.