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And the Loser of Round 1 is... Bush
February 3, 2004
By Michael Dobbins

If the ten months leading up to the election are measured in terms of a ten round boxing match, with each month constituting one round, then the Democrat presidential candidates should be more than satisfied with where they stand after Round 1.

For the entire month of January President Bush was nothing more than a punching bag in the political ring, with hits coming from all sides. If Bush didn't fall down, he was certainly stumbling and holding dearly to the ropes. Bush didn't just lose this round, he lost big. Not many election years have started so poorly for a President.

Furthermore, the issues raised in January are not going away any time soon. Unless Bush gets a new game plan for future rounds, defeating him in November may not be as difficult as once thought. By no means should we let down our guard, but by all means, let's take a moment to recall the events that caused Bush to reach his lowest approval ratings ever as President...

January 7th - IMF declares the U.S. deficit threatens global economic security. The deficit may create higher interest rates, reduce investment worldwide, and slow, if not reverse, the economic recovery. While the administration try's to shrug it off, the financial world is listening and the pressure on Bush is mounting.

January 8th - Bush's immigration plan is met with hostility by Republicans, Democrats, and many immigrants. The fallout has just begun as many Republicans who had committed to donating to the re-election efforts now refuse. The proposal is rightly viewed as merely a political move during the election.

January 9th - The labor department announces only 1,000 new jobs were created in December, 349,000 short of Bush's estimate and 147,000 short of Wall Street's. The campaign theme to defeat Bush becomes clear to all: "It's the Jobs, Stupid!"

January 11th - Paul O'Neil confirms to the world what many have suspected all along; President Bush is nothing more than "a blind man in a room full of deaf people." O'Neil confirms Bush's disconnect from important policy discussions, his plans to take out Iraq before 9/11, and that Dick Cheney is really running the show.

January 19th - After months of attempting to express their frustration with President Bush, hundreds of protesters were finally able to get into shouting distance during the President's public relations stunt celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This was just a taste of what Bush would hear at every visit if it were not for the illegal "free speech zones."

January 20th - Bush makes his State of the Union address but fails to convey the real state of the country. Once again, he attempts to deceive the American people in regards to Iraq, the economy, and the war on terror. The speech is overshadowed by John Kerry's surprise win in Iowa and the fact that Bush didn't tell the truth.

January 25th - Speaking of John Kerry, Newsweek releases a poll conducted Jan. 22-23 showing Kerry defeating Bush 49% - 46% if the election were held today. The news is widely reported and proves Bush is in much more trouble than he may have thought.

January 26th - David Kay, chief Weapons Inspector in Iraq, announces to the world what many already knew: there are no WMDs. Now an independent investigation is being called for to delve into how and why the intelligence was so wrong. This may have sealed Cheney's fate to be off the ticket in November. Additionally, it raises the question "What are our troops dying for?"

January 27th - The Congressional Budget Office revises its estimate of the U.S. budget deficit for the next 10 years, increasing the deficit by $1 trillion to a total of $2.4 trillion, and $477 trillion for this year alone. As the financial security of the country declines, so does the people's faith in their leader.

January 28th - The 9/11 Commission announces that it needs more time to conduct the investigation. This is a political hot potato the President doesn't want to be caught with during the election. If he doesn't extend it, he looks like he has something to hide, if he does extend it, the truth could come out during the election. Either way, Bush can't win.

January 29th - Bush announces the Medicare package passed last fall to be one-third more costly than first predicted, or $140 Billion dollars. This only adds fuel to the fire of Republicans who view Bush as an out of control spender and government expander.

January 31st - Bush's approval ratings sink to an all time low of 49%. Could this be a preview of things to come in the next 9 rounds? If the trend continues, anything is possible.

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