Saturday, October 30, 2004

Rove to Kerry: This Just In -- Bin Laden Wants Bush to Win


October surprises have been working to our favor in the last week. We had "W" on the run, responding to all kinds of allegations for almost the entire week. The poll numbers tracked to this reality, and it looked like you were going to win.

But the real October surprise was one that I don't think anyone (even the Bush campaign) could have guessed: that Bin Laden himself is campaigning as a fourth party candidate. Bin Laden unveiled another surprise attack on America -- an attack without violence may influence the outcome of this election.

Does Bin Laden really want Bush to win? Who knows, and frankly, who cares. But he will have the same effect that Nader did on Gore in 2000.

Nader has been neutralized as a third party spoiler thanks to the heat of the election, but Bin Laden just gave his stump speech and told Americans directly that neither you nor "W" would do the job of fighting terror as well as he would. His policies, he says, are the only policies that will stop terror attacks.

But, just like Nader ripped votes away from Gore in 2000, Bin Laden will have the exact same effect on your campaign. Why? Simple: People trust W's toughness on terror more than they trust you. This makes sense because they've seen him launch two wars, and they've seen the same man accuse you of being weak on defense (and offense).

John, please listen carefully: Your current campaign strategy of ducking the Bin Laden issue will not work. You need to de-politicize the Bin Laden tape, and at the same time use it as a differentiator, or else you will lose the election by default.

People will see this ducking as a preface for how you'll deal with him as President. You see, people intuitively know that behaviors transcend situations. If your behavior is to duck and cover now, they can only assume this is a preface to your presidency.

In all of your final rally speeches, you need to bring America together as you would as President, but also make a pointed differentiation between you and "W":

"When I am sworn into office, I will be taking an oath: an oath to protect and defend this nation, and to ensure that I will do everything in my power to keep Americans safe.

Every President takes this oath, and every President is bound by this promise. I can promise you that no matter who you vote for this Tuesday, they will be aggressively fighting terrorism.

But I'm running for President because I know I will do a better job at defending America. The difference between me and President Bush is: Bin Laden is still out there scheming because this President is fighting terrorism more broadly by including countries like Iraq. That was his decision, and he's sticking to it.

My administration will focus on the heart of terror first -- Bin Laden and his network of terrorists -- because as a soldier and commander in the armed forces, I know how to find, seek, and destroy the heart of the enemy. As President, I will take Bin Laden and his network out. This President has had three years to remove Bin Laden from power, and he's still out there. Bin Laden is the guy behind 9/11, and he's the guy I'm going after starting Day One.

Yes, we dethroned Saddam under President Bush's leadership, but we will destroy Al Q'aida under mine."

You need to start sounding presidential now. Take a strong stance on this, John. If you don't take a defining stance now, you may never be given the chance.