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On Speaking to an Undecided Voter

Reported by Marie Therese - October 29, 2004 -

Yesterday, at nine o'clock in the morning, I received a call from a colleague I've known for 20 years, but only rarely meet except at local concerts or music teachers' functions. She needed an accompanist for a show. I gave her some names. We chatted a bit, catching up on old times. When I mentioned that I had worked on OUTFOXED, she got very serious and said she still didn't know who she was voting for. I was taken aback, so I asked her "Why?" Her answer was the one most pundits give: "I don't like Bush, Iraq is a mess, but Kerry's just a political opportunist. Look how he put on that camouflage jacket and went to kill birds just to get votes." Suspecting a serious case of "superficial media-itis." I asked her if she knew that Kerry had been hunting since he was twelve years old. She was stunned and said "no."

It turns out that - had she known that simple fact - it would have changed her opinion about (a) the entire hunting incident and (b) John Kerry. An hour and a half later, when we said our good-byes, she went away armed with the names of books to read, radio stations she could listen to, documentaries to view and websites where she could go to get information.

I can't say with 100% certainty that she will vote for Kerry, although my woman's intuition tells me she will. At least, she'll be armed with facts, not half-facts. Who knows? She might even be able to change the mind of her die-hard Republican husband. Along those lines, another good friend who is the lone Democrat in a family of Republicans, emailed me last week to say that her father and brother, both "Rockefeller Republicans," are voting for Kerry. Needless to say, she is ecstatic.

The "superficial media" has done a magnificent job of shaping public opinion by leaving out key pieces of biographical information about John Kerry. After four years we all know who Bush is. But my friend - who listens to some talk radio and watches a little TV - had never once heard that John Kerry has been hunting since he was twelve years old. Neither did she know that he belongs to the VFW and the American Legion.

I think the Democrats need to cobble together a very simple ad, call it something like JOHN KERRY'S RESUME and run it in all the states.

People like my friend, who are undecided and live in "blue" states, are not getting the full story about John Kerry and, consequently, may vote for the other guy or, worse, stay at home on election night.