Obama Looks to Bush '04 as Re-Election Role Model

Bush-Kerry race has echoes of current politics
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2011 8:45 AM CDT
President George W. Bush speaks as John Kerry listens during a 2004 debate.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama has an unlikely role model in his bid for re-election: George W. Bush, circa 2004. So says the AP and New York Times, who separately report that Obama strategists are so struck by the similarities between Bush's campaign against John Kerry and the 2012 race that they are borrowing from Bush's political playbook. For one thing: The White House already is attacking Mitt Romney as a Massachusetts flip-flopper, much as Bush did to Kerry.

"Politics is infused with rich ironies,” says Mark McKinnon, Bush's media strategist back then. Like Team Bush, Team Obama intends to prove the political adage that an election usually boils down to a choice between two individuals instead of being a referendum on policy, writes Richard W. Stevenson in the Times. Not that policy doesn't matter: Bush in some ways turned the Iraqi war to his advantage with the message that he made politically unpopular decisions to keep the country safe. Obama might well take the same approach with his equivalent of a war—the tanking economy.

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