Ed Goeas

Ed Goeas, chief executive of the Tarrance Group, an Alexandria, Va., polling and strategic research firm that specializes in Republican political campaigns, was Tuesday's guest. Here are excerpts from his remarks:

On perhaps the basic challenge for the Kerry campaign:

"Kerry is put in a position that he needs now to be the one leading the message going against George W. Bush. But in leading the attack, he is probably going to take on water and ... more negatives [with voters]."

On a key challenge for the Bush campaign:

"A lot of the game for the Bush campaign ... will not be to sit on the lead, but to make sure their voters remain intense and that they have the mechanism to turn out those voters.... You really don't know until Election Day whether you have done a better job than the other side on the grass-roots part [of the campaign]."

On the presidential debates:

"People elect ... US senators and congressmen [on the basis of] 'Are you smart enough to legislate?' They elect presidents on 'Are you strong enough to govern?' Senators have a hard time in a presidential race making that transition. If, in the debate, Kerry falls back into where he is comfortable, which is 'I'm smarter than George W. Bush and I am going to prove it,' he is going to lose that debate."

On the nature of the presidential race:

"We have had large periods of time in which events have superceded the best strategies of either campaign, which is from a ... management standpoint, a strategy standpoint - very nerve-wracking that you are not in control of your destiny."

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