To the Bitter End; Late Innings: The Debates Are over. the Drama's Getting Thick. the Knives Are out as the Candidates Climb aboard the Last-Chance Express

Newsweek, October 25, 2004 | Go to article overview

To the Bitter End; Late Innings: The Debates Are over. the Drama's Getting Thick. the Knives Are out as the Candidates Climb aboard the Last-Chance Express


Byline: Howard Fineman (With Tamara Lipper, T. Trent Gegax, Susannah Meadows, Daniel Klaidman and Rebecca Sinderbrand)

Gentlemen of Yale that they are, or were, George W. Bush and John Kerry made a show of good fellowship when the contest was over: two guys, eager to hammer each other politically, acting like they were booking a tennis date. "Where are you going to be on election night?" the president wanted to know, shaking hands after their final debate last week at Arizona State in Tempe. In Boston, Kerry told him, with Teresa, at the town house on Beacon Hill. Bush will be at the ranch in Texas to vote, then at the White House to watch returns. A few winks and arm pats, and they went their separate ways.

So much for steely niceties. Now come the desperate hours, stretching from here until election night, when they will talk again--and, if 2004 is like 2000, no one will concede. Bush and Kerry are crisscrossing battleground states with a clear message: the other guy is profoundly unfit for office. In four and a half hours of largely decorous televised debates--watched by more than 160 million viewers--Kerry and Bush traded substantive accusations on issues ranging from troop deployments in Iraq to flu vaccines in Britain. From here on the tone will be more, shall we say, abrasive. Kerry's mantra: Bush has no grasp of reality beyond that enjoyed by his rich corporate friends. Bush's: Kerry is a creaky liberal, ambivalent about the use of military force and too eager to rely on government. "We're out of the 'buzz' phase and into the 'buzz saw'," said Tad Devine, one of Kerry's top strategists. "These last couple of weeks are going to be reminiscent of the opening scenes of 'Scarface'."

Chain-sawing an opponent is one way to excite your base; another is an appeal to cultural issues that partition the country. One such topic is federal funding for embryonic-stem-cell research. Kerry and his running mate, John Edwards, are for it--with Edwards last week proclaiming that people like the late Christopher Reeve might walk again except for Bush's opposition to expanded federal research. The president, for his part, noted that he'd funded research--but only in a way that was consistent with the "culture of life."

Gay rights is perhaps the hottest of buttons. Anti-gay-marriage initiatives are on the ballot in 11 states--including Ohio and Michigan. In the debate, the specific question was whether sexual orientation is instilled at birth, or chosen freely. Bush said he didn't know. Kerry said he did: it was a matter of genetics, adding that Vice President Dick Cheney's openly lesbian daughter, Mary, would agree. Gay-rights leaders praised Kerry. Republicans, led by an indignant Lynne Cheney, castigated him for what she labeled "a cheap and tawdry political trick" designed to attack Bush's evangelical Christian support. After a lot of churn and chatter on cable, Kerry aides privately conceded that it was poor taste to mention another politician's offspring--even if Cheney had done so first. "Klutzy," said a top Kerry adviser. But no one apologized.

The combat is so ferocious in part because the race is where it's always been: too close to call--though there is evidence that Bush now has a narrow lead: 48-46 percent among registered voters, 50-44 percent among likely voters in NEWSWEEK's new poll. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

To the Bitter End; Late Innings: The Debates Are over. the Drama's Getting Thick. the Knives Are out as the Candidates Climb aboard the Last-Chance Express
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.