Sunday, October 10, 2004

The Kerry quote

The Bush campaign, in a new television ad, accuses Sen. John Kerry of wanting to treat terrorism as a law enforcement problem, like gambling and prostitution, seizing on a comment Mr. Kerry made to the New York Times Magazine, Reuters news agency reports.

“How can Kerry protect us when he doesn’t understand the threat?” the ad asks.

Mr. Kerry had told the magazine: “We have to get back to the place where we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they’re a nuisance. As a former law-enforcement person, I know we’re never going to end prostitution. We’re never going to end illegal gambling. But we’re going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn’t on the rise.”

Bush market

Most pundits called it a tie, but people who are putting real money on the election thought President Bush won Friday night’s presidential debate.

The Iowa Electronic Markets, where on-line speculators bet cash on the candidates, had Mr. Bush at 52 at the start of the debate, dropping to 51 in the first half hour, then rising to 55 at the end, New York Times political columnist John Tierney writes. That means the speculators thought Mr. Bush had a 55 percent chance of winning.

Bush ahead

President Bush continues to enjoy a slight lead over Democratic rival Sen. John Kerry, a national opinion poll showed yesterday.

The survey by ABC News found that 50 percent of likely voters supported Mr. Bush, 46 percent Mr. Kerry, and 1 percent back consumer advocate Ralph Nader, an independent, Agence France-Presse reports.

The phone survey of 2,407 adults was conducted Wednesday through Saturday.

The poll had a 2.5 percentage point margin of error.

No, Kerry ahead

Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry held on to a 1-point lead over President Bush after Friday’s second debate, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released yesterday.

Support for Mr. Kerry and Mr. Bush held steady after the televised encounter, with the Massachusetts senator maintaining a 46 percent to 45 percent lead over Mr. Bush in the latest three-day tracking poll.

The slight advantage for Mr. Kerry was well within the poll’s margin of error, and the tight race heading into the final three weeks looks a lot like the 2000 election that Mr. Bush narrowly won over Democrat Al Gore, pollster John Zogby said.

“This is so much like 2000, it’s scary,” Mr. Zogby said. “There is a lot of campaigning to go. Remember that in 2000, the lead changed several times in October.”

The poll of 1,216 likely voters was taken Thursday through Saturday and has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points. The final day of polling came after the debate, but showed little change in the race, Reuters news agency said.

Close in Colorado

Democrat Ken Salazar holds a slim lead over Republican Pete Coors in the race for Colorado’s open Senate seat, according to a Denver Post poll conducted before the candidates debated yesterday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

If the election were held today, 46 percent of the 630 respondents said they would vote for Mr. Salazar, and 44 percent said they would vote for Mr. Coors. That is within the poll’s 4 percentage point margin of error.

Nine percent said they were undecided, and 1 percent supported other candidates.

The poll of randomly selected registered voters was conducted Oct. 4-6.

“It’s still a very competitive race,” said Brad Coker, managing director of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, which conducted the poll. “It could hinge on how the presidential race turns out.”

The poll indicates that Mr. Salazar is winning support in the Senate race from people who will vote Republican in the presidential race. President Bush led Democrat John Kerry 50 percent to 41 percent in the same poll.

A USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll last week found that Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry were tied at 49 percent in Colorado. Mr. Salazar led Mr. Coors 54 percent to 43 percent in that poll.

Targeting Edwards

“A new wave of Republican attack ads is coming this week, but this time their target is the No. 2 man on the Democratic ticket, John Edwards,” Viveca Novak reports at the Time magazine Web site (

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the November Fund, a new 527 group dedicated to attacking Edwards, a former plaintiffs’ lawyer, and ‘lawsuit abuse,’ will this week launch an ad campaign that portrays him as a cause of the crisis in the medical system. ‘Doctors are leaving, hospitals are closing, health care costs are skyrocketing at an alarming rate,’ says one direct-mail piece. ‘Tell Sen. Kerry and Sen. Edwards that it is time to support common-sense lawsuit-abuse reform.’

“The Chamber is focusing on eight battleground states with a ‘very aggressive mail, phone and Internet campaign,’ says its national political director, Bill Miller. The campaign is aimed at independent women with children, who are presumed to be more receptive to health care issues. Miller declined to say how much it will spend other than ‘in the millions.’

“The November Fund, started in August by former GOP Senator Bill Brock and former Ronald Reagan White House aide Craig Fuller, begins running TV ads (which can’t, by law, mention Edwards’ name) and newspaper and direct-mail pieces (which can) in four states this week. ‘Kerry’s selection of Edwards was such an arrogant act, such an in-your-face thing that we had to do something,’ says Brock. The fund won’t have to disclose its funding sources or how much it has raised until Friday, but Brock said the group had more than $5 million ‘last time I looked,’ starting with $500,000 from the Chamber.”

Debate marathon

C-SPAN2 plans a senatorial debate marathon tonight.

The network at 8 p.m. will show a live, one-hour debate from Louisiana, featuring U.S. Senate candidates Rep. David Vitter, a Republican; Rep. Chris John, a Democrat; state Treasurer John Kennedy, a Democrat; and state Rep. Arthur Morrell, a Democrat.

At 9 p.m., the network will replay a Saturday debate between Republican Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, Democratic Rep. Joseph M. Hoeffel, Constitution Party candidate Jim Clymer and Libertarian candidate Betsy Summers.

At 10 p.m., the network will telecast a debate between South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle and his Republican challenger, former Rep. John Thune, taped earlier in the evening.

At 11 p.m., the network will replay a Saturday debate between Wisconsin Sen. Russell D. Feingold and Republican challenger Tim Michels.

At midnight, the network will replay yesterday’s “Meet the Press” debate between Colorado candidates for the U.S. Senate, Republican Pete Coors and state Attorney General Ken Salazar, a Democrat.

• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or

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