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Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Bush-bashing at the NY Times

On the Road by David Sanger


The dirty little secret of President Bush's bus tour is that he didn't spend much time on the bus.

An hour or so on Tuesday was all he logged, though that seemed plenty for the startled residents of some small towns in rural parts of Ohio, who had never seen a motorcade quite like this one. After all, it is not every day you see three buses moving along on back roads, preceded and followed by Chevy Suburbans carrying men with large guns, and helicopters overhead. One woman who was mowing her lawn ran indoors, leaving the lawn mower idling in her yard.

But it was not just the spectacle of it all; it was the agenda, too. Mr. Bush's aides made no secret of their joy that he was using the sardonic tone about John Kerry that until now has been reserved for Vice President Dick Cheney to use. And it worked: The president's most rousing reception was in Cincinnati, where 16,500 people jammed into the Cincinnati Garden (it cost the campaign only $19,000 to rent it for the night, a bargain in their view) and cheered every jab at Mr. Kerry.

"The other side hasn't offered much in the way of strategy to win the war," Mr. Bush said. The large and enthusiastic crowd shouted back "Four More Years."
This was published as part of the paper's Times on the Trail, and was juxtaposed with a report on the Kerry campaign:
. . . He often does give civilians a chance to ask questions, however. And in Albuquerque on Tuesday, he was pestered with several toughies — and impertinent follow-ups — by a group of 5- and 6-year-olds when he arrived at an elementary school to read two books to them: "Green Eggs and Ham" and "Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing."

A boy named Pablo asked, "What will you do to make sure airplanes don't fly into tall buildings?" Mr. Kerry began to say he would hunt down the bad guys first, but a girl interjected that Mr. Kerry had blue eyes.

Another child asked if Mr. Kerry could "make sure dogs don't get run over by cars," and Mr. Kerry promised to try. And another wanted to know how he would stop war.

Mr. Kerry deftly tried to throw his inquisitors off their game, spotting a drawing of himself that one of the children had done. "That's — that's skinny," he said.
Skinny, as in light weight.