Is this an old story? Somehow I missed it before it showed up in the LA Times a few days ago:
In the run-up to the 2004 Democratic National Convention, when it was not yet clear who Bush’s opponent would be that November, Rove and his aides had begun to fear that their most dangerous foe would be then-Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina…
But instead of attacking Edwards, Rove’s team opened fire at Kerry.
Their thinking went like this, [Rove lieutenant Matthew] Dowd explained [after the election]: Democrats, in a knee-jerk reaction to GOP attacks, would rally around Kerry, whom Rove considered a comparatively weak opponent, and make him the party’s nominee. Thus Bush would be spared from confronting Edwards, the candidate Republican strategists actually feared most…
“Whomever we attacked was going to be emboldened in Democratic primary voters’ minds…So we started attacking John Kerry a lot in the end of January because we were very worried about John Edwards,” Dowd said. “And we knew that if we focused on John Kerry, Democratic primary voters would sort of coalesce” around Kerry.
“It wasn’t like we could tag [eliminate] somebody. Whomever we attacked was going to be helped,” he said.
I assume many people read that and immediately thought of this:
[T]he president says he was helped by bin Laden, who put out a videotaped diatribe against Bush the Friday before the 2004 election.
Bush said there were â€œenormous amounts of discussionâ€ inside his campaign about the 15-minute tape, which he called â€œan interesting entry by our enemyâ€ into the presidential race….
â€œI thought it was going to help,â€ he decided. â€œI thought it would help remind people that if bin Laden doesnâ€™t want Bush to be the president, something must be right with Bush.â€