Campaign '04: Coolness Under Fire

Kerry insists he will prevail, but will a sharper message be enough? Here's how the race is changing

Sometimes a politician has to put his head down and just say it ain't so. That's how it went with Senator John Kerry last week. While the rest of the political world obsessed about the dive his campaign has taken in the past month, the growing doubts inside his party about his performance on the stump and a campaign clock that seems to be ticking faster now that Labor Day has come and gone, the Democratic nominee tried to present a picture of unworried resolve when he sat down in his campaign plane for a half-hour interview with TIME last Friday...

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