PR Play of the Week: Bush uses leaks to test the waters

The Bush campaign obviously wanted to make sure that Dubya’s selection of Dick Cheney as his running mate was our PR Play of the Week. After all, why else would the candidate’s handlers have leaked the choice to several reporters, then turned around and claimed, faux innocent, that they had nothing to do with it?

The Bush campaign obviously wanted to make sure that Dubya’s selection of Dick Cheney as his running mate was our PR Play of the Week. After all, why else would the candidate’s handlers have leaked the choice to several reporters, then turned around and claimed, faux innocent, that they had nothing to do with it?

The Bush campaign obviously wanted to make sure that Dubya’s

selection of Dick Cheney as his running mate was our PR Play of the

Week. After all, why else would the candidate’s handlers have leaked the

choice to several reporters, then turned around and claimed, faux

innocent, that they had nothing to do with it?



Leaking a possible political selection is one of the tried-and-true ways

of getting a first idea of how the appointment will be received. What

made the Bush campaign’s use of the tactic so effective, then, was that

it allowed the candidate to avoid backing himself into a corner with a

controversial choice like Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge.



Rothenberg Political Report senior editor John Kohut thinks the Cheney

leaks were brilliant strategy. ’If the news went sour on Dick Cheney,

they could back away from it,’ he explained.



The long-term PR implications of the Cheney pick? With his

foreign-policy experience, Cheney is clearly no Dan Quayle. He also

offsets some of the perceptions - like the ’lightweight’ label - that

are bedeviling Bush right now.



According to Manning, Selvage & Lee SVP (and former GOP campaign

manager) Brian Gaudet, another benefit is the effect on the Gore

campaign: ’He’s been pushed out of the story for the next week or

so.’



There are PR problems with the selection, of course. Cheney is a

died-in-the-wool conservative, and his age and older appearance raise

the question whether the GOP ticket is truly one for the new millennium.

But there’s no question that it was artfully orchestrated.



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