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Thursday, January 29, 2004

Dean Flounders, Pulls Back Advertising

In what looks suspiciously like capitulation, the Howard Dean campaign has suddenly canceled its advertising in the seven battleground states voting next week on the Democratic nomination for President:

Howard Dean will not air ads in any of the seven states holding elections next week, officials said Thursday, a risky strategy that puts him at a distinct disadvantage with high-spending rivals for the Democratic nomination. With his money and momentum depleted, Dean decided to save his ad money for the Feb. 7 elections in Michigan and Washington state and, 10 days later, the primary in Wisconsin, said officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

One of the stories on Joe Trippi's departure published yesterday reported on strategic differences between trippi and Roy Neel, who took his place. If surrendering on Tuesday is part of the strategic realignment of this campaign, why did Trippi need to leave? I assume that Trippi saw this strategy as the acknowledgement of Dean's faltering appeal that it is, and Trippi knows that the image of a candidate backpedaling and downsizing holds little attraction to people concerned about electability. Kerry already held an edge among Democrats for whom electability against George Bush was the main motivation for their vote in New Hampshire, and with the turmoil in the Dean camp the past two weeks, it's sure to be more of an issue now.

Howard Dean looks increasingly incompetent as a national candidate. If he doesn't compete for next Tuesday's primaries, he will drop further off the radar screen and allow John Edwards to grab the momentum for second place. In two weeks, Howard Dean will be finished as a credible contender.

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11:19 AM in DeanWatch | Permalink

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