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Reality Check

by Andrew Sullivan t some point, this election race will tighten again, and, against the odds, it seems to me that John Kerry has finally found a way

by Andrew Sullivan

At some point, this election race will tighten again, and, against the odds, it seems to me that John Kerry has finally found a way to do it. It's Iraq: not the reasons for going to war, not the relationship between Iraq and the war on terror, not the absence of promised WMDs, but the incompetence of the occupation from the fall of Baghdad onwards.This has always been the president's weak and blind spot. And the soundbites offered up on television last night showed why. Kerry was heard lambasting an occupation that seems to most observers to be coming unglued. Bush was seen again criticizing Kerry's record of inconsistency on Iraq. Advantage Kerry. Why? Because Bush has all but given up on trying to argue that things in Iraq are going fine. So he has to attack Kerry's credibility to conduct any kind of war in the region. It sounds campaigny and political, while Kerry at least is talking about a burning issue in the news every day. So, if this pans out, the debate will hinge on Bush's record in Iraq versus Kerry's longtime record in the Senate and dithering over the two years. If that's the battle, Kerry will surely gain--especially if violence in Iraq continues to swell in the next few weeks.

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