GOP 'war room:' primer in convention combatHere's the difference: Clinton was the challenger. Bush is the freakin' president. They have to keep busy playing gotcha with us because they have (all together now) NOTHING.
Welcome to the "war room," the office space of Republican operatives working to reelect President Bush. Inside, they listen to speeches that no one else bothers to record and take copious notes, seeking contradictions, discrepancies, and vulnerabilities at every turn of phrase. They use e-mail, satellite feeds, and surrogates to drive any message that they see as viable and valuable.
Now that it's convention time in Boston, some 30 of them have relocated from their Arlington, Va., headquarters to a satellite bunker only blocks from the FleetCenter, this week's epicenter of American politics. They are helping launch an offensive, the "Extreme Makeover" of John Kerry. Their mission: to expose 19 years of Kerry's Senate record. The group is holding press briefings in the mornings to counter any Democrat buzz, and is hosting a variety of Republican speakers, including former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, in their makeshift television studio.
"We don't know what they'll say [at the convention], but we'll have a lot of people setting the record straight," says Steve Schmidt, deputy communications director of Bush-Cheney '04.
Whatever its tone, this is not just a Republican game. In fact, it was President Clinton in 1992 who branded the term "war room" in his campaign against the first President Bush. But technology has advanced, and these "soldiers" have more information to monitor.
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"War Room." More like "Bore Room."
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