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News and Events:
Former Philadelphia Mayoral Candidate Underestimated Bush
 

 
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Former Philadelphia Mayoral Candidate Underestimated Bush
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ONCE AGAIN, George Bush outsmarted conventional wisdom. In the homestretch of the presidential campaign, Republican insider Sam Katz gave John Kerry the advantage.

"Kerry has got the momentum and could win this election," said the former Philadelphia mayoral candidate during a talk at Penn Law in late October. "Kerry has demonstrated a lot of resiliency. He has literally had nine lives."

Confounding his analysis, President Bush went on to narrowly win reelection, capturing barely more than 50 percent of the ballots and 286 electoral votes, or 17 more than needed.

One week before the election, however, Katz wondered how President Bush had even managed to retain his base, much less remain competitive, given his first term record – soaring deficits, a bungled war effort in Iraq, and the failure to capture bin Laden. "It is quite extraordinary to me that Bush is still in this election," said Katz.

Equally extraordinary to him were the deep divisions the election had unleashed. "This is the first election in my memory where the hostility goes from house to house … and there is a reason for that: The stakes are so much higher (than they have been in recent elections)."

Two things Katz got right: For perhaps the first time in American history, election night would be like "one big ward fight," the result determined by which candidate mobilizes the most voters. The other: If Bush wins, he said, the President will plow straight ahead with his agenda.

 

 
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