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The 2004 Campaign

CIA: Osama Helped Bush in '04
CIA analysts concluded that Osama bin-Laden's release of a videotape four days before Election 2004 was a covert attempt by the terrorist leader to influence American voters to give George W. Bush a second term. The troubling CIA assessment was disclosed in a little-notice passage of Ron Suskind's new book. But it also fits with other evidence of a long-term symbiotic relationship between the Bushes and the bin-Ladens. July 4, 2006

Kerry Suspects Election 2004 Was Stolen
Sen. John Kerry has told acquaintances over the past year that he suspects the election was stolen in 2004 but that he lacked the hard proof to challenge the official results. But one effect of Kerry's avoidance of a public battle may be the despair among millions of Americans who feel their democratic birthright was taken along with the last two presidential elections. November 6, 2005

Will Ferrell & ACT's Failed Logic
When comedian Will Ferrell reprised his "Saturday Night Live" imitation of George W. Bush for a campaign ad in 2004, traditional Democratic operatives shied away from showing it on television, apparently out of fear that it poked fun at the president. In effect, Democratic groups like America Coming Together failed in their bid to unseat Bush because they chose to play it safe and didn't appreciate the power of the conservative media. August 5, 2005

Kerry's Last Flip-Flop
John Kerry's refusal to join members of the Congressional Black Caucus in contesting voting fraud in Ohio may mark the sad end to what once was a courageous political career. By opposing a floor debate on electoral abuses while calling on his supporters to ask Republican leaders to have hearings on electoral reform, he also looks like George W. Bush's caricature of Kerry as a politician who won't take a stand. January 6, 2005

Will John Kerry Report for Duty?
An expected challenge from members of the Congressional Black Caucus to the fairness of George W. Bush's election may put John Kerry in a tight spot. By signing on as a senator, Kerry would prevent Vice President Dick Cheney from gaveling the Democratic motion out of order at a joint session on Jan. 6, but Kerry also might open himself to taunts that he's a "sore loser." January 4, 2005

Election 2004's Myths & Mysteries
The 2004 presidential campaign shattered illusions of fair play, honest debate, and political institutions capable of maintaining the rules of the game. Instead, the modern American political system has now been inundated with false myths and unsolved mysteries. Will anyone fix the problems or has American democracy based on the consent of an informed citizenry effectively come to an end? December 10, 2004

Slow-Rolling Democracy in Ohio
George W. Bush's Republican allies in Ohio have taken more than a month to certify the results in the state that decided the U.S. presidential election. Next, they plan to hold off on any recount until after the Electoral College formalizes Bush's election to a second term, making any discoveries of discarded votes or systematic fraud largely an academic exercise. December 4, 2004

Bush Victory's Lesson to the World
Around the globe, longtime admirers of the United States are stunned that the American electorate would endorse what many view as a lawless administration. But another troubling message bubbles beneath the surface as authoritarian regimes discover that they can cite U.S. electoral flaws to justify their own behavior.  November 11, 2004

Explaining Ourselves
There's been both praise and criticism for our four post-election stories, which tried to frame the questions about the Nov. 2 vote tallies and which depicted the U.S. news media as dangerously imbalanced to the right. So in response to the comments, we offer a fuller explanation of why we see a broken system that threatens to turn the United States into a democratic republic in name only. November 10, 2004

Bush's 'Incredible' Vote Tallies
George W. Bush's vote tallies, especially in the critical state of Florida where he earned more votes than registered Republicans, are so statistically stunning that they test the bounds of believability. Democratic activists, who worked hard to turn out millions of new voters for John Kerry, are wondering how the GOP pulled it off. November 9, 2004

Evidence of a Second Bush Coup?
Election experts are struggling to explain why exit polls showed John Kerry winning by three percentage points when George W. Bush ended up on top by about that same margin. Some Democrats suspect that the Bush campaign may have employed CIA-style "cyber-war" techniques to manipulate the ballot results, a theoretical possibility but one that so far lacks evidentiary support. November 6, 2004

Too Little, Too Late
George W. Bush's electoral victory shows that the conservatives have mastered the techniques of convincing large numbers of Americans that reality doesn't matter -- or that reality is whatever Bush says it is. As the powerful Right-Wing Machine celebrates, Democrats and liberals face a challenge of countering this infrastructure or ceding power to the Republicans/conservatives for the foreseeable future. November 3, 2004

Bush's 'Exit Ramp' or Four More Years?
American voters have one decision to make on November 2: Do they want to take the electoral "exit ramp" that's looming ahead -- and change presidential drivers -- or do they want to give George W. Bush four more years to keep the pedal to the metal down a hazard-strewn highway? November 1, 2004

Kerry's Contra-Cocaine Chapter
In 1986, when the Reagan-Bush administration was at its peak of power, freshman Sen. John Kerry undertook a daring investigation of cocaine trafficking involving Ronald Reagan's beloved Nicaraguan contras. Though Kerry battled his way to historic findings, he got only abuse from the major national news media, which missed one of the worst scandals in modern American history. October 29, 2004

Plan B: 'October/November Surprise'
With the polls tightening, the Bush campaign has resorted to Plan B, an "October/November Surprise" aimed at depressing the Democratic vote in key battleground states, such as Ohio. Unlike earlier Republican "October Surprise" gambits, however, Bush's scheme is right out in the open. October 27, 2004

Bush: Beyond Reason
An aide to George W. Bush mocks what the White House calls the "reality-based community," making Election 2004 look increasingly like it has become a test of whether mysticism or empiricism will control U.S. actions in the world. Bush has used a variety of signals to persuade a swath of American voters that he is a messenger from God. October 19, 2004

Bushes Play the 'Traitor' Card
If the attacks on John Kerry's loyalty have a feel of deja vu, it may be because George H.W. Bush's reelection campaign tried similar smears against Bill Clinton in 1992. In the 2004 campaign, George W. Bush is expected to get a last-minute boost from a national broadcast of an anti-Kerry propaganda film that portrays the Democrat as a traitor. October 18, 2004

Kerry Attacker Protected Rev. Moon
The producer of an anti-John Kerry video, which will be aired on stations across the United States before the Nov. 2 election, also attacked federal investigators who were cracking down on Rev. Sun Myung Moon's mysterious money flows in the 1980s. A book by Carlton Sherwood helped silence Moon's critics and enabled the South Korean theocrat to continue funneling hundreds of millions of dollars into the U.S. political process. October 15, 2004

Bush's 'Transformational' Democracy
Conservative enthusiasts are predicting that George W. Bush's victory on Nov. 2 will mark a "transformational" moment in American politics, locking down Republican political control for a generation or more. It also could mean a fundamental change in the workings of American democracy.  September 22, 2004

Campaign 2004's Jedi Mind Tricks
As in the Star Wars movies, the Bush campaign has mastered the art of the Jedi Mind Trick -- the magical wave of the hand and hypnotically suggestive words used to cast John Kerry as an unacceptable flip-flopper. Like the feeble-minded creatures in the Star Wars movies, the mainstream media are under the spell. September 20, 2004

Reality on the Ballot
George W. Bush's acceptance speech continued his pattern of lying about the Iraq War, while other Republicans pushed distortions of John Kerry's actions during the Vietnam War. Suddenly, Election 2004 has become a test not just of the candidates but  whether reality still matters to the American people. September 4, 2004

Bush-Style Politics, Again
The Bush campaign adopts a familiar campaign tactic -- tear down its political opponent with false and misleading attacks -- while a compliant Washington press corps gives Bush another pass. August 19, 2004

Bush-Kerry: Meaning the Same Thing?
In the 2004 presidential campaign, George W. Bush is seen as the straight-shooter who knows his own mind, while John Kerry is known as the flip-flopper who says what people want to hear. But that's only because Washington media pundits are interpreting their words. June 18, 2004

Four More Years?
Election 2004 is shaping up as a contest between an incumbent president who thinks too little and a challenger who is criticized for thinking too much -- between George W. Bush the believer and John Kerry the thinker.  May 13, 2004

Which Way on Election 2004?
George W. Bush's argument for a second term boils down to "trust me, I know what I'm doing." John Kerry is faced with trickier message: does he play it safe and go for a narrow majority or will he raise the stakes and bid for a breakthrough Democratic victory. March 10, 2004

Bush's Great Debate -- With Himself
George W. Bush has been poking fun at Democratic frontrunner John Kerry for supposedly flip-flopping on issues. But what Bush promised in 2000 and what he says now could be the makings of a great debate -- with himself. March 2, 2004

Kerry & the 'Special Interest' Hit Piece
In 2000, a news media aghast over Al Gore’s supposed lies paved the way for a George W. Bush presidency whose hallmark has been a disdain for facts. Now, in 2004, the emerging theme depicting Senator John Kerry as a “captive of special interests” may contribute to four more years of a Bush administration whose policies have bent consistently to the desires of any number of corporate benefactors. February 19, 2004

The New England Patriot Factor
The Republicans hope to make Massachusetts conjure up images of an un-American place outside the mainstream, but for millions of football fans John Kerry’s home state brings memories of the Super Bowl champions. February 12, 2004

Political Psychosis & Election 2004
Though not listed as a candidate, "reality" will be on the ballot in 2004. The current situation, especially in U.S. policy toward Iraq, suggests a worsening political psychosis that only the American voters can cure -- by demanding a political system and a news media that start respecting the facts. February 9, 2004

A Political Battle for Planet Earth
The energy of the Democratic base in the early primaries is evidence that the 2004 election is shaping up as a test of whether the American people will sign off on policies that are charting a dark political course for the planet. February 3, 2004

Do Democrats Need the South?
A new conventional wisdom among pundits is that the Democrats drove away the South's political allegiance because the Democrats supposedly don't care about religion and other strong Southern concerns. But this spin has turned history on its head, editing out how Republicans pandered to some of the South's worst attitudes toward blacks and gays. December 1, 2003

Democrats Feud as Bush Falters
The Democratic presidential race is opening up old fissures in the party, between pro-war and anti-war factions. But the biggest schism -- as the Democrats pick a candidate to challenge George W. Bush -- is over which wing of the party has most failed to learn the lessons of past election debacles. August 13, 2003

Bush: 'The Wrong Man?'
George W. Bush's backers say his decisiveness makes him the "right man" for these dangerous times, but a contrary view holds that Bush's reliance on gut judgments and his lack of real-world experience have only worsened the dangers, making him very much the "wrong man" to run the country. July 9, 2003

The Bush Exit Ramp
George W. Bush's loose tongue is complicating an already dangerous moment for the United States, but he seems unwilling to control his rhetoric. January 22, 2003

Democrats' Route From Political Trap
The right-wing attack machine wastes no time bashing Democratic 2004 "wannabes," shattering the notion that a "fresh face" would solve the Democrats' strategic political weaknesses. A news analysis. January 6, 2003

Evolving Democratic Minority
Before the 2002 elections, many Democrats were looking for signs of an "emerging Democratic majority." Instead, Republicans showed how their sophisticated media infrastructure can create electoral majorities even when many voters disagree with GOP policies. November 19, 2002

Election 2002's Exploded Myth
The Democrats have long followed Tip O'Neill's maxim, "All politics is local," which has led liberals to downplay the importance of national media. The Democratic debacle of Nov. 5 should finally show that a political movement that ignores the power of national media is inviting its own destruction. Editorial. November 9, 2002

Bush, the Polls & 2004
Many Republican strategists saw the American people's anger over Sept. 11 and George W. Bush's "united-we-stand" poll numbers as a way to lock down a second term in 2004. But recent poll numbers suggest a less certain future. September 10, 2002