World watching U.S. presidential election closely

What others say

Posted: Monday, September 13, 2004

A bullish George Bush has given the Republican convention in New York the message that delegates wanted to hear. Now the big test will be whether he will find it equally easy to convince the U.S. that he is the man who can keep America safe. ...

His objective is to re-establish his credentials with a public which still harbours doubts about the basis for the war on Iraq. But above all, Mr. Bush's strategy is to sound decisive and forceful in order to undermine his challenger, Sen. John Kerry.

After a succession of attacks on the credibility of his claims about his war record, the Democrat candidate is suddenly looking vulnerable. A number of vitriolic diatribes were directed at Mr. Kerry at the Republican convention, and some have struck home.

Above all, Americans want a strong leader who can defend their country and protect their troops overseas. The debate about whether the invasion of Iraq was justified is being eclipsed by the more pressing challenge of how best to get the troops home. ...

With the conventions over, both parties now launch out on the final 60-day phase of the hustings. As the candidates tour from state to state, a bitter and intense struggle can be anticipated.

Events will be watched not just in the U.S. but further afield. Even though America does not have as direct an influence on the peace process as it had in the Clinton days, the outcome could have a bearing on Northern Ireland. ...

Belfast Telegraph, Northern Ireland - Sept. 3

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