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Primetime Bush bashing

Democratic convention night 4

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Thursday
?Joe Biden -4
?Wesley Clark - 2
?Joe Lieberman -0
?Nancy Pelosi -8
?Madeline Albright -4
?Max Cleland -0
?John Kerry -9 

Total Primetime Thursday =27

On the last night of the Democratic Convention, the primetime speakers once again took on President Bush, while rarely mentioning him by name. But the message was clear – whether using Bush’s name, or not, they bashed the President 27 times on Thursday night.

Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry led the way with nine Bush bashes. Before the convention started, Kerry asked speakers to hold back on attacking Bush and the nominee spent far more time making his own case on why he should be elected president than in attacking his opponent. Kerry only mentioned the president by name twice in his speech, and in neither of those two references did he bash him.  When he did bash Bush, Kerry did it without using Bush’s name, such as when he said, “I will be a commander in chief who will never mislead us into war.”  In another instance Kerry attacked the president when he spoke about America having the power to change the world. The senator said, “That starts by telling the truth to the American people…as President, I will restore trust and credibility to the White House.”

Kerry bashed Bush several more times about the war in Iraq, “Saying there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq doesn’t make it so.  Saying we can fight a war on the cheap doesn’t make it so.  And proclaiming mission accomplished certainly doesn’t make it so.”  Kerry also said, “On my first day in office, I will send a message to every man and woman in our armed forces, you will never be asked to fight a war without a plan to win the peace.”

On domestic policy, Kerry bashed Bush when he said, “You don’t value families…if you tell middle class families to wait for a tax cut so that the wealthiest among us can get even more.”

And Kerry borrowed a line from Ron Reagan that he used at the burial service for his father, President Ronald Reagan, on June 11. Kerry credited Ron Reagan Thursday night when he said, “I don’t wear my own faith on my sleeve.”

And Kerry bashed Bush on a topic Ron Reagan spoke about at the convention Tuesday night, stem cell research. Kerry said, “What if we have a President who believes in science, so we can unleash the wonders of discovery like stem cell research to treat illness and save millions of lives?”

House minority leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi got in eight Bush bashes in her short speech, using the word Republicans instead of the President’s name.  In talking about the war Pelosi said, “Republicans have sent our troops into battle in Iraq without a plan and have cut veterans’ benefits without remorse.”

Sen. Joe Biden bashed Bush four times.  In one instance, he said “Instead of walking alone, we must lead.  It is only leadership if someone follows and no one is following.”

Former presidential candidate Gen. Wesley Clark bashed Bush twice, again without mentioning him by name.  In one of those Clark said, “Anyone who tells you that one political party has a monopoly on the best defense of our nation is committing a fraud on the American people.”

And former Secretary of State Madeline Albright bashed Bush four times.  In one instance she did what other convention speakers have done, compared Bush’s military record to Kerry’s without mentioning Bush by name.  Albright said, “It matters that our nominee has never ducked from a fight, or gone missing in battle, or left a buddy behind.”

Primetime speakers during the four day convention bashed Bush 105 times, rarely ever mentioning his name. Topping the list of bashers for the week, former President Bill Clinton with 22 and Sen. Ted Kennedy with 18.

We’ll also keep track of the Kerry criticisms at the Republican convention.

Definition of Bush Bash – any criticism about President Bush, whether about him personally, or his policies.

On the third night of the Democratic Convention, Sen. John Edwards urged America to “reject the tired, old, hateful, negative, politics of the past.”  And it appears the Democrats are doing just that, bashing President Bush just ten times in six primetime speeches Wednesday night.  That’s down from the convention high thus far, 47 times on Monday night. 

Speakers spent far more time praising Sen. John Kerry and that’s just what Kerry’s people asked for.  Before the convention started, Kerry’s staff asked speakers to tone down the Bush bashing, hoping to appeal to independent voters, whom polls show are turned off by negative politics.

And while some of Wednesday’s bashes didn’t mention  Bush by name, the implication was still clear.  Gov. Bill Richardson said, “At the end of the day our nation is strongest and better served when our President is respected and admired in the world.”    Other speakers were more direct, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. said, “In the dark, a President chooses tax cuts for millionaires, but job cuts for steel and auto workers, firefighters and police.  A President who talks of homeland security, but wants to let AK-47’s and Uzi’s back on the street.”  The Rev. Al Sharpton bashed Bush when he talked about civil rights and the Supreme Court, “I suggest to you tonight that if George Bush had selected the court in ’54, Clarence Thomas would have never got to law school.”

Edwards focused on introducing himself to the American people, talking up Kerry and telling the American people that “hope is on the way.”  While not bashing Bush directly, Edwards made a few veiled references, like many other speakers thus far, to the President’s lack of military service, while pointing out Kerry’s war record.  Edwards said, “John understands personally about fighting in a war.”  He also said, “John put his life on the line for our country.”  And Edwards got a few more digs in on Bush, while again not bashing him directly, when talking about the President’s diplomacy.  Edwards said, “We can’t do this alone, we have to restore our respect in the world…with a new President who strengthens and leads our alliances.”

In many past presidential campaigns, the vice presidential nominee has played the role of “attack dog.”  It appears that’s not going to be the case with the 2004 Democratic ticket.  On the other hand, if Vice President Dick Cheney is anything like he’s been in the past, then it might be harder for Edwards to hold back. 

One more night of the Democratic Convention and John Kerry speaks.  We’ll see if he follows his own advice and goes easy on the man he wants to replace.

We’ll also keep track of the Kerry criticisms at the Republican convention.

Definition of Bush Bash – any criticism about President Bush, whether about him personally, or his policies.


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