Matthew Dowd, Mike Donilon, and Michael Whouley

Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd and Kerry-for-President aides Mike Donilon and Michael Whouley were guests late last week. Here are excerpts from their remarks:

On the growing trend in voting before election day:

(Donilon) "You have to understand ... this election is [already] happening. It is not about to happen."

On whose get-out-the-vote effort is better:

(Dowd) "The question we have is whether our operation is equal to their operation. I don't think we will know the answer until Election Day."

On why neither candidate has pulled far ahead in the opinion polls:

(Donilon) "In a country this polarized, it is extraordinarily difficult to open up margins [to] any significant degree."

On why undecided voters may not follow tradition and choose the challenger:

(Dowd) "We are in an entirely different information-flow situation this year. This is the first incumbent reelection where [the Internet] really has been in place."

On campaign strategy in the closing days before Nov. 2:

(Whouley) "This is a three- dimensional chessboard. Our resources are candidate time, television advertising, and on- the-ground operations."

On the growing importance of cable TV in presidential campaign advertising:

(Dowd) "One of the most interesting things that has come out of this election is how much viewership has moved to cable and away from the nets. We didn't buy any cable in 2000. [This year] we didn't just buy Fox or ESPN, we bought CNN ... the Learning Channel, the History Channel."

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