Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Dick Gephardt Campaign Manager Steve Murphy ; Excerpts from a Monitor Breakfast on the Democratic Presidential Campaign

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Dick Gephardt Campaign Manager Steve Murphy ; Excerpts from a Monitor Breakfast on the Democratic Presidential Campaign

Article excerpt

Dick Gephardt's campaign manager, Steve Murphy, got his start in politics as a University of Delaware student volunteering for Joseph Biden's 1972 Senate campaign. Mr. Murphy is now a partner in the political consulting firm of Murphy Putnam Media. Before co- founding that firm, he worked for or managed more than 20 political campaigns stretching back to Jimmy Carter's in 1976.

On whether an improving economy makes President Bush harder to beat:

"No, I don't think so. Regardless of his political fortunes, regardless of his approval rating, even when his approval ratings were in the 80s, his reelect numbers were always around 50 [percent] ... it hovers around 48 right now. I think you are definitely headed for exactly the same type of race in 2004 that we had in 2000, almost a dead-even split and obviously we feel that Dick Gephardt is the best candidate to win a race like that because he plays best in the swing electoral states."

On the Gephardt campaign strategy versus Howard Dean:

"We have enough money to get through February 7, to get through Michigan [caucuses]... Our scenario ... is to win in Iowa [January 19], take that momentum into New Hampshire [January 27], finish in the first tier there, and then dominate on February 3, which is the Achilles heel of the Dean strategy. Which is why Dean is pushing so hard to win in both Iowa and New Hampshire, because he understands his vulnerability on February 3. Those are just not Dean type of states - South Carolina, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Missouri. These are states that we expect to do very well in."

On what Democratic voters want:

"Dick Gephardt was pretty straightforward about this in his announcement speech that the way to defeat George W. Bush and what he wants to do as president is effect change with bold ideas and not by frittering around the edges of public policy. I do think that as a group, Democrats are in a mood to present a stark choice with George W. …

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