Electing the President, 2004

Electing the President, 2004: The Insiders' View

Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 264
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  • Book Info
    Electing the President, 2004
    Book Description:

    The 2004 presidential election was closely watched from all corners of the world and dominated the media for nearly a year. From the opening announcements of campaigns through the primaries and debates to the first Tuesday in November, the presidential election was ubiquitous, filling our email inboxes and directing our dinner conversation, turning us all into amateur political analysts. Electing the President, 2004 offers the views of the professional political operatives who ran the campaigns. In this volume, the consultants who brought the country the Bush-Cheney and Kerry-Edwards contest of 2004 explain the strategies behind the ads and debates, discuss what they did and failed to do to elect their candidates, and reveal their differing perspectives on the issues that mattered. Electing the President, 2004 focuses on events from September 11 to the release of the Osama Bin Laden tape that affected the outcome of the elections. The debates, the advertising, the work of 527 groups, the campaign organizations-all these components contributed to an eventful election season, with the two campaigns continually vying for the attention of the American public. Through this analysis of strategy-their own and their opponents'-these insiders offer a ringside seat to a hotly contested democratic process. Contributors: Mary Beth Cahill, Alex Castellanos, Elizabeth L. Cheney, Nicolle Devenish, Mike Donilon, Matthew Dowd, Tucker Eskew, David Jones, Bill Knapp, Chris LaCivita , Joe Lockhart, Brian McCabe, Mark McKinnon, Mark Mellman, Stephen Moore, Robert M. Shrum, Erik Smith, and Bill Zimmerman.

    eISBN: 978-0-8122-0481-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    In the 2004 post-election period, the Democratic consultants cast the election as close—theirs but for fifty thousand or so votes gone the other way in Ohio. The Republicans cast it as an election that was theirs to lose. They anticipated and got a 2- to 3-point victory in a contest that, as both sides anticipated, came down to the outcome in Ohio. In larger terms, in the heady post-election days the Republicans cast the election as a mandate for the Bush agenda of Social Security reform, tax simplification, tort reform, and the like.

    When all the votes were in,...

  5. Campaign Timeline and Charts
    (pp. 7-20)

    The National Annenberg Election Survey (NAES) is a survey conducted each presidential election by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The 2004 NAES telephone interviews began October 7, 2003 and concluded on November 16, 2004. During this period, 81,422 adults in the United States were interviewed.

    In addition to its large sample size, the NAES is distinctive because it employs a rolling cross-section (RCS) design. With this method, random samples of respondents are interviewed each day of the presidential campaign period in such a way that the samples are comparable from one day to the next....

  6. Chapter 1 Campaign Organization and Strategy
    (pp. 21-38)

    For us, the 2004 race started in the immediate aftermath of 2000. We did a lot of analysis of the results of the 2000. As a result of that research we approached the 2004 election differently both from 2000, and I think from a lot of other previous presidential campaigns.

    The first thing that we noted was that motivation was as important as persuasion in 2000, and motivation was going to be as important as persuasion in the 2004 race. We concluded that 92 or 93 percent of this country were going to be in the position in which their...

  7. Chapter 2 Advertising
    (pp. 39-83)

    Let me just start off with the strategic challenge. The big strategic challenge we faced was ironically completely different than it was in 2000. In 2000 we had the unusual situation where we were really arguing for change in a status quo election. Generally, people felt good about the country and where this country was headed and we were arguing for change.

    In 2004 we had just the opposite strategic challenge. We were the status quo in a change environment. So in 2000 we were arguing that things were good so it’s time for a change and in 2004 we...

  8. Chapter 3 Polling: Decisive Moments and Audiences
    (pp. 84-113)

    We did not think [the post-primary period] was an opportunity to disqualify John Kerry as a president. There was a lot of discussion saying, “Well, you were going to put the boot on their neck and we were going to eliminate him as a possibility and win the race.” We never thought that internally. We thought we wanted to get the race back to parity. We were down 5 or 6 points when the Democratic primary ended. Four or five weeks before when the Abu Ghraib scandal hit the race, we were up about 1 point. So we took the...

  9. Chapter 4 Debate Strategy and Effects
    (pp. 114-139)

    The truth is that for us the debates were critical to John Kerry becoming competitive again in the race. If they had been held at a different time, they might have meant that he was president of the United States. There were a lot of happy moments in our campaign, which the press and conventional wisdom foresaw as improbable or impossible, including those debates. They had to serve our strategic imperatives: to get over the national security hurdle, to get to the economy and health care, and the underlying value of fighting for the middle class. But let me focus...

  10. Chapter 5 The Press/Campaign Relationship
    (pp. 140-174)

    I have a unique job here to talk about the campaign-press relationship in a campaign that I was only in for the last two months. I want to do one thing first which is to acknowledge the work particularly of Stephanie Cutter who was the communications director and was there almost from day one and who slogged through the primaries and many difficult times and many good times. But also a couple other people, Chad Clanton, Phil Singer, David Ginsburg, Joel Johnson, and Deborah DeShong. But because I wasn’t there during the primaries I’m really just going to skip over...

  11. Chapter 6 Republican Spenders
    (pp. 175-208)

    I think everyone knows that the Conservative 527s really got a late start. All of us, especially Swift Boat Veterans and [Progress for America] PFA Voter Fund, waited until the FEC non-ruling in May.¹ PFA did not get started until May 27. When we started we were 100 million dollars behind the fundraising success of all the liberal 527s. We saw our mandate as helping level the playing field, to be the equalizers with what the liberal 527s were doing. We had some challenges on our side because a lot of the Republican time had been spent talking about how...

  12. Chapter 7 Democrat Spenders
    (pp. 209-240)

    The Media Fund was created to make sure a Democratic message was on the airwaves at competitive levels. In 2003, people in our party were looking at a situation where the opposition had two tremendous assets. One is the Republicans consistently and historically have out-raised and outspent Democrats. Second, an incumbent president also traditionally has dramatically outspent any challengers. You combine those two things and we’re looking at a really daunting challenge. The Media Fund was created to try and respond to that.

    In particular, our mission was to try and fill some holes, to look for places where the...

  13. List of Participants
    (pp. 241-244)
  14. Index
    (pp. 245-251)