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Fox: Bush Loves Town Meetings

Reported by Judy - October 8, 2004 -

Fox reporter Kelly Wright committed the sin of "raising expectations" for George Bush today (Oct. 8) when he predicted that the president will do well in tonight's debate with John Kerry at Washington University in St. Louis.

Wright said that Bush should have an edge in tonight's debate because it is a town hall format, something Bush has done a lot of on the campaign trail. He added that Bush likes the spontaneity of the format. Kerry, on the other hand, made a "gaffe" at a town hall meeting in West Virginia when he said he voted for the $87 billion before he voted against it, Wright said.

Actually, the Bush campaign tried to scrap the town hall format during debate negotiations. Bush has done a lot of town hall meetings, but the audiences were restricted to Bush supporters. Kerry has answered questions with no restrictions on the audience.

Bush may do better, but Kerry welcomes such give and take with opponents. Kerry would not have won the Iowa caucuses had he not mastered the art of connecting with voters in dozens of town hall meetings during months of campaigning in a state that expects grass-roots, retail politics from politicians who want their support.

As Kerry said in a December 14, 2003 televised town hall meeting in Iowa, "Now, I want you to ask me tough questions; I want to get as many in as I can so I'll try to go through them as rapidly as I can. Let's have some fun. Have at me. Grill me. Test me. See if I've got what it takes to be your president, and I hope I can convince you. Who wants to be first?" The first question came from an abortion opponent.

Can you imagine Bush saying, "grill me, test me"?