What Bush Taught McCain

The GOP candidate's negative turn is straight out of the Bush campaign handbook

Illustration by Stephen Kroninger for TIME McCain: Alex Wong / Getty Bush: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

The woman, a venture capitalist from the Denver area, looked a bit like Cindy McCain, and so it was disconcerting when she announced, in a focus group of undecided voters conducted by the Republican pollster Frank Luntz, that she had decided she just couldn't vote for John McCain this year. "I supported him enthusiastically in 2000, but he's hired the same people who ran him into the ground last time to run his campaign," she said. McCain's tone was more negative now. "It breaks my heart."

Most people don't care about the consultants a candidate hires —...

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