Why did the Republicans get a "bounce" after their convention, while the Democrats did not?
Many pundits certainly expected a Democratic National Convention bounce. The Los Angeles Times' Ronald Brownstein, before the DNC, argued that Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry "is likely to receive the traditional 'bounce' from the convention if he can use the opportunity to impress voters . . . " According to political strategists, wrote Brownstein, "If Kerry and his aides can shape the convention to serve (his) goals . . . then the event will be a success -- and the bounce will follow."
But, no bounce. Why? The Republicans successfully attacked Kerry for flip-flopping on Iraq, and Kerry's speech at the DNC provided little clarity on what Kerry would do in Iraq and how Kerry would prosecute the War on Terror differently than President Bush.
"60 Minutes" asked Kerry whether -- if he knew then what he knows now -- he would still vote for the presidential authority for war in Iraq. Kerry answered, "What I voted for was an authority for the president to go to war as a last resort if Saddam Hussein did not disarm and we needed to go to war. I think the way he went to war was a mistake." Kerry said, however, he didn't regret his vote, "I believe, based on the information we have, it was the correct vote." Only days ago, Kerry offered another perspective, "it's the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time."
At the RNC, Georgia Sen. Zell Miller (D) rattled off a litany of weapons programs Kerry voted against. Vice President Dick Cheney said, "Sen. Kerry is campaigning for the position of commander in chief. Yet he does not seem to understand the first obligation of a commander in chief -- and that is to support American troops in combat."
President George W. Bush, in accepting his party's nomination for a second term, emphasized national security, while reiterating broad goals to reform the tax code, make the tax cuts permanent, and to allow younger workers to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes.
But not one hour after President Bush's Thursday night address at the RNC, a panicked Kerry held an Ohio campaign rally at midnight. (How many working families did Kerry keep up past their bedtime?) Kerry then falsely accused Vice President Dick Cheney of calling him "unfit for office."