AP: Bush's Record Has Him in Tough Spot

AP is reporting: "Bad news for President Bush: Americans are anxious about the economy and unhappy about the Iraq war. The number of soldiers killed will probably hit the psychologically important 1,000 mark before the November election. And in the political horse race, he is tied or worse with Democratic rival John Kerry. There's a strong market for change at the White House, lifting Democrats' hopes.

"Kerry enters his convention stronger than Ronald Reagan in 1980 or Bill Clinton in 1992, the last two challengers to an incumbent, though Bush's side argues that the president is rebounding. Indeed, Kerry has problems of his own. A new ABC News-Washington Post poll showed that Kerry has lost ground to Bush on issues such as terrorism, Iraq, taxes and even health care. Democrats, meanwhile, angry at Bush and sensing he's vulnerable, have put aside their traditional quarrels to strike a united front for the fall campaign."

"Asked about Bush's weaknesses, Ben Jeffers, former chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party, said: 'I'll sum it up in two words - his record. The fact that he took a major (budget) surplus and just put our kids' future back in jeopardy by driving us into a deep, deep, deep hole.'

"When an incumbent president seeks re-election, the first question voters ask is, Did he do a good job and does he deserve another term? 'He's in a very tough situation right now,' Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz said of Bush. 'When you see an incumbent president running even, if not slightly behind his challenger at this stage and with approval ratings at or below 50 percent, those are indicators of vulnerability,' Abramowitz said. 'If he dropped much further than this, I would have to say he was in very dire straits.'"

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