2004 A “Pivotal Year”
FORUM l Bush-Cheney 2004 Campaign Manager Ken Mehlman said the 2004 election will show if the major shift that took place in the 2002 mid-term election, which brought Republican control back to the Senate and added Republican legislators to the House, was a sign of a new direction for America.
“It was arguably the best Republican election and election for a president’s campaign in a generation,” Mehlman said. For the first time in American history, the president’s party won back the U.S. Senate, the second time in history that the president’s party in its first midterm gained house seats, and, for the first time since 1969, that the four largest states in America all have Republican governors.
“There are more Republican legislators in this country than there have been at any time since 1954,” he said.
“The question in 2004, from a political perspective, is ‘Are we where we were in 2000 or where we were in 2002?’ If that incremental change that occurred in 2002 becomes durable, that has huge political significance for all of what you study and all of what we do,” said Mehlman.
The 2004 election is a “pivotal moment in politics,” he said, “when Americans will choose a president who must oversee both a global peace process and a domestic economic recovery.” President George W. Bush’s proactive approach toward solving these problems, Mehlman said, is what is needed for establishing peace throughout the world and economic stability at home.
Democratic presidential contender John Kerry’s approach to the existing terrorist threat, he said, is to deal with them in a “pre-9/11” way. “His comments and voting record portray an approach that says, ‘we can win this war without proactively going after the terrorists the way the president wants to,’” said Mehlman.