Defining Kerry

Bill Sammon:

President Bush's political strategists have concluded that the way to battle back from record low job-approval ratings and months of bad news from Iraq is to talk about Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry.

"The more people know about him, the more they find a Kerry presidency troubling," said Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman. "Poll after poll after poll after poll shows that."

Although the press has been focused for weeks on the president's low job-approval ratings, the Bush campaign has taken solace in largely overlooked poll numbers that show Mr. Kerry's support plummeting in several crucial areas.

For example, an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Monday shows that in the past 11 weeks, the percentage of Americans who say Mr. Kerry is "honest and trustworthy" has fallen 11 percentage points. The number saying he is a "strong leader" has dropped nine percentage points, and the number saying he "understands the problems of people like you" has dropped six percentage points.

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