Monday, September 24, 2007

Bush: "Strong Asset" for Republican candidates?

I found this YouTube video off Americablog, and I just had to smile at it. It is fascinating how the Republican presidential candidates have so distanced themselves away from President Bush that they even refuse to mention President Bush's name in their stump speeches. According to this article:

MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. -- Republican presidential candidates can't be any more clear: President Bush isn't welcome on the campaign trail.

Competing to succeed him, top GOP candidates Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson and John McCain barely utter Bush's name. They essentially ignore the lame-duck president, or give him only passing credit, as they rail against the status quo and promise to fix problems he hasn't solved.


The candidates are walking a fine line. They are trying to tap into the deep discontent those voters feel about the state of the country without alienating any who hold Bush in high regard. At the same time, they have to counter the Democrats' powerful arguments for a new direction.

How candidates handle the 800-pound elephant in the room now could have implications beyond the primary. Privately, Republican strategists agree their nominee will lose next fall if the general election is a referendum on Bush. They say GOP candidates are wise to distance themselves from the president now, given his unpopularity among the public at large.

The Republicans presidential candidates are in a no-win situation here. In order to get the GOP nomination, they have to court the 28 percent conservative base that still approves of Bush's job performance by tactfully praising Bush. However, if they go too far in courting the base, they risk alienating the moderates and independents who oppose the Bush administration--especially the Bush war in Iraq. So the GOP candidates are trying to walk this fine line of criticizing President Bush without specifically naming him, that they can show the way for the Republican Party to become "the party of change," even as these candidates quietly support the Bush administration's policies, and the Bush war in Iraq. It is a fascinating type of campaign spin here.

President Bush, of course, thinks otherwise. From YouTube:

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