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Ken Mehlman Interview

Ken Mehlman Interview

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Published by unreliablecolleges
Ken Mehlman inverview from 2004.
Ken Mehlman inverview from 2004.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: unreliablecolleges on Jan 30, 2013
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04/01/2015

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Steady,
resolute
Republican
leadershiPor
the
failed
DemocraticPoliciesof
the
past-
THE
GHOIG
ls
Rising
Tide:
ls
there
a
typicalday
in
the
life
of
a
presidentialcampaign
manager?
fi"r,
Vf"hm*:
Every
dayis
different'
Obviously,
thisis
a
hugetask
and
a
veryimportant
mission'
My
dayinvolves
talk-
ing
to
our
grassroots
leadersaround
the
country,working
closely
with
RepublicanNationalCommittee
(RNC)
Chairman
Ed
Gillespie
und
tt"
outstandingteamat
the
RNC,
and
with
Republican
leadership
in
thestates-members
of
Congress'
gor"-orc
and
senators.
And,
of
course,
I
workvery
closely
*itt,
tt
"
staffhere
at
the
campaign'
So
no
day
is
typical'Rising
Tide:
Along
with
serving
as
a
campaign
manager
this
year,
in
2000,
you
werethe
President's
nationalfielddirecior.
To
give
our
readers
a
little
insight
into
how
a
national
campaignoperates,
will
you explainwhat
an
organi-zational
chart
looks
likefor
a
50-statecampaign?
Ken
Mehlman:Well,this
is
an
organization
that
very
much
believes
in
beingbottomup,
not
topdown'
In
eachstate,
wehave
state
chairmenand
state
leaders,
who
are
oftentheRepublicangovernor,
senator
or
congressman'
Working
together
with
them,we
help
develop
an
appropriate
electoralstrategy
and
wework
very
closely
to
figure
out
how
to
u""o*pUtf,
ourmutual
goals.Thecampaignincludes
a
polit-ical
department,responsible
for
gettingoutthevote
as
wellu,
u."rrug"
anda
communications
departmentresponsible
for
gettingthePresident'spositive
message
out
to
asmany
p"opt"
as
possible.
We
alsohave
a
strategydepartmentto
ir"tp
,t
focusonthe
best
ways
to
achieve
victory,
a
financeshop
that
helps
us
raisethe
resources
that
we
need'and
a
legal
department
to
make
sure
we're
complying
with
the
,pi.it
und
theletter
of
thelaw.Our
policy
people
helpcom-municatethePresident'saccomplishmentsand
vision'
trea-
sury
makessure
we
arestaying
on
budgetandcomplyingwitlhthetreasury
laws,
and,
finally,our
operations
depart-mentmakes
sure
all of
theseareasare
working
the
right
way'
Rising
Tide:Mtchwas
madeout
ofHoward
Dean's
Inter-
netpolitical
campaign,
and
he
did
raise
a
considerable
u..rorrt
of
money.
But
in
theend,
online
supporters
didn't
showup
in
the
primaries.Howimportant
is
the
Internet'srolein
political
camPaigns?
Ken
Mehlman:
TheInternet
is
an
incredibly
important
tool'
It
provides
a
way
for
thePresident's
supporters
around
the
"ornt
y
to
make
contributions,help
identify
and
registervoters'
write
and
send
letters
to
theeditor,and
share
the
President's
message
with
friends.
But
a
Web
site
isnot
asubstitute
for
a
message.
The
reason
our
sitehasso
much
activify-the
reason
we have6
millione-activists-is
not
because
of
ourWebsite'
it's
because
we've
got
a
greatPresident'
SotheWeb
site
becomes
a
great
tool
for
people
to
channel
that
support
and
share
the
GOP
message
with
other
people'
Rising
Tide:With
all
of
themedia
coverage
focused
onthe
Democratsduring
the
primaries,they
had
plenty
of
time
to
get
outtheir
anti-Bush
message'
What
steps
shouldRepublicanstaketomake
sure
votersheartheother
side?
lftn
Mehlman:Well,
logging
on
to
ourWebsite
is
a
great
example
of
what
steps
folks
can
take'They
should
talk
to
their
neighbors
about
the
President,
call
intotalkradio
and
write
letGrstotheeditors
oftheirlocal
newspapers'They
can
18
Rising
Tide
www.gop'com
GLEAR
An
intewiew
with
Bush-Cheney
(O4
Campaign
Manager
Ken
Mehlman
PHOTOGHAPHSBYBILLDENISON
 
t
also
send
out
e-mails
about
the
President's
policy
accom-
plishments
and
set
up ablog
(Web
log).
All
of
these
are
examples
of
thingspeople
can
doto help
support
the
Presi-dent,and,
if
they
can,
provide financial
assistance
to
Repub-
lican
campaigns
and
to the
RNC.That's
also very
important.
Rising
Ti.de:
A
year
ago,
members
of
the
campaign,
including
seniorstrategist
MatthewDowd,predicted that
the
President's
poll
numbers,at
this
stage,
wouldslip
and
that,
overall,
support
for
the
President
would
fluctuatethroughout
thisyear.
It's
onlyMay.
How
much
stock
canvotersplace
in
anY
of
the
polls,
and
in
the
end,
what
do
the
polls tell
us?
Ken
Mehlman:
I
think
that
whatthe
polls
tell
us
right
now
is
that most
folks
aren't
really
focusedon
this
campaign.
They'renotfocusedon thechoice they're
going to face,
and
at
the
end
ofthe
day, when
they
are
focused
on
that
choice,
I
amconfident
that
George
W.Bush
is
goingto
have
the
supporthe
needs.
When
theY
focus onthe choice
between
how
do
we
keep
lhe
economic
recov-
ery
going forward,the
President
hasa
six-pointplan
to
do
it;
ouropponentwants
to
raise taxes
in
the
first
100 days.
How do
we
keep
America
safe
during
a
world
where
you
have
the
threat of
terrorism?The
Presidentbelieves
we
need
a
proactive,
strong
and
resoluteapproach.
Our
opponent
recentlysaid
thatthe
War
on
Terror
has
createdmore
terrorists.That's
a
very differentviewof
the
world,
and
welook
forward
todebating
that
view
of
the world.
We
havealwaysindicated
the
country
is
closely divided
and
that
this
will
be
a
closeelection, and
welook
forward
to
discussingthechoice
the
American
people face.
Rising
Tide:
The
Democrats
have
said
they want
to
take
Americaback.You've
said
they
don't
want
to
take
America
bac(
they
want
to take
Americabackwards.What
do
you
mean
by that?
Ken
Mehlman:
Ithink
the
Democratswant
to take
Americabackward
to
failed
ideas andfalse
illusions.Raising
taxesto
create
economicgrowth
was
tried,
and
it
actually
cost
jobs,
and
it
underminedeconomic
growth.Why
go
back2}
years
to
the
economicplan
of
WalterMondale,
whichis
whatour
oppo-nentspropose?
Before
9lll,
a
lot
of
people believed
that
the
War
on
Terrorcould
be
won
withoutf,ghting
a
war,
withmostly
law enforcement
and
intelligence.
Sen.
Kerry
has
said
that'shis
position. That's
a
false
illusion.The
country
riedit,
and
it
11...tWeb
site
isnot
a
substitute
for
a
message
The
rcason
our
site
has
so
much
actiuitY/...is not becauseof our
Web
site,
it's
because
werue
got
a
grcatPresident."
www.gop.com
RisingTide
19
 
trToo
often ouropponentssupportpoliciesthat
are
weak
and
tentatiue
in the
face
of
tenon
And
if there
is
one
thing
we'ue
learnedin
this
century,
it
is
that thegrcatestptouocationfor
war
is
weakness...!r
didn't
work.
We,
as
Americans,
have been
through
a
lot
in
the last threeyears.We
wantto
keep
looking
forward
and
not
go
back after
we've
come
this
far.
RisingTide:
Sen.
John
Kerry
sent a
letter
to
President
Bush
accusing
the
Presidentand
his
supporters
of
ques-
tioninghis
patriotism. Gov.
Marc
Racicot
responded
to
Kerry
by
saying
his
patriotism
was
not
in
question, butinstead
his voting
record.
He
asked
Kerry
'to
elevate
theremarkably
negativetone
ofyourcampaign
and
your partyover the
past
year." Have theDemocratsgonetoo
far
tooearly?
Ken
Mehlman:
Well,
that's
for
the
voters
to
decide.
But
the extraordinarily
negative
tone
of
the
Democrats'campaign
is
unprecedented---especially
when
youthink
about the
fact
thatthree
out
of
every
four
dollars
Sen.
Kerry
has spenthas
beenspent onnegative
ads.
Democratsran$17
million
in
ads
(by
the
beginningof
March)
attack-ing
thePresident,
who'snot
even
in theirprimary.
So,
what
they've
done
is
very
unusualand
it's
up
to
the
votersto
20
Rising
Tide
www.gop,com
decide.
But
at the end
of
the day,
anger
and
negativity
don't
create
jobs
and
don't
makeAmericans safer
and
don't
improve
schools.
A
positive plan
does.The
Presidenthas
positive
strategies
to
do
all
of
these
things.
A1l
ouropponents
want
to
do
is
run
negative
commercials
and
that's
the
wrong
approach.
RisingTide:
Maty
economicindicators
are
pointing
to
a
sustained
recovery
and
Federal
Reserve
Chairman
Alan
Greenspan
said
that,
if
this
economic
growth
rate
contil-
ues,new
jobs
aregoing
topick
up
reasonably
quickly.How important
were thePresident's tax
cuts
to
the
recov-
ery
and
howimportant
is
it
to makethempermanent?
Ken Mehlman:
The
tax
cuts
are
very important.
Thetaxcuts
are
why
a
recession
is today
a
recovery, and they
should
be
made
permanentbecause
the
dollars
thatemployershave
to
spend
on
taxes are
dollarsthey can't
spend
hiring
new
workers
orpaying
those
existingworkersbeffersalaries.
The American
peoplehave a
choice.Do
we want
to
spend
more moneyon
hiring
workers
and
makingAmerica
more competitive
in
the
world,or
do
we want
to
spend
more money
in
Washington,D.C.,
ongovernment?
And
we
think
when
youlook
on
the
face
of
that choice
as
well
as
otherparts
of
his economic
plan,
the
people
are
going
to
choose
thePresident's approach.RisingTide:
In
1996, the Congresspassedthe
Defense
of
Marriage
Act
thatdefined marriage
as
a
legal union
between
a
man and woman.
The
Senate
and Houseover-
whelmingly
voted
for
it;
President
Clinton
signed
it;
and38
states
have
passed
similarlaws. Given
that
supporl,
why
did
the
President
believe
that this
issuewas important
enough
to call
for
a
constitutional
amendment?
Ken
Mehlman:
The
reason
is activistjudges.
In
Mass-achusetts
and
elsewhere,activist
judgesovemrled
the
Defense
ofMarriageAct. Now,
when
a
judge
ovemrles
a
law,
in
some
cases,
the
only
avenue
left
to make
sure
that
law
remains
in
effect
is
througha constitutional
amend-
ment.
And
the
Presidentbelieves
that
a
constitutionalamendment
is
necessary
to
protect marriage between
a
man
and
a
woman.
A
constitutional
amendment
is
alsothe
only
waythat allows
the
people
to
decide
thatquestion
as
opposed
to
it
being
decided
by
judges.
The
Presidentbelieves
that
marriageought
to
be betweena
man
and
a
woman,the
overwhelmingmajorityof
the
American
peo-
ple
agree,
and
thisis the
only
way to
make surethat thePresident's
approach,
and
the approach
ofthe
vast
majority
ofAmericans,remains
the law.
Rising Tide:
As
the
commander
in
chiefduring
anunprecedented
time in
history
President
Bush
has
a
record
of
accomplishment.
What
do
you
see
as
the
President'skey
policy
successes
to
date?
Ken
Mehlman:
Number
one
is
the
President's
success
when
it
comes
to
theWar
on
Terror-America
is
safer
today thanwhen
George
W.Bush
took
office.
And, it's
saferbecause
we
havean aggressiveand
effective
strategy
for takhg
on theterrorists
and
for
ffeatingthis
war
likewhat
it
is-a
war.
America
is
safer
because
Afghanistan
has
been
liberated,
and the
Taliban
andalQaidaleaders
are

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