NEW YORK – Democrats said Thursday the Republican convention is offering an angry vision to America that won't play well in the closing weeks of the presidential campaign.
"Delegates love this kind of stuff, but when this settles down and we get past Labor Day, I think this convention will prove to be a big mistake," said Philadelphia Mayor John Street (search), who was among Democrats recruited to counter the GOP message in New York "People out in the country's neighborhoods want to know what you have to offer us."
Street said the attacks on Democratic nominee John Kerry's (search) Vietnam War record that have given Bush traction in the polls won't carry over into the latter stages of the campaign.
"People were paying attention to the attacks over the last five weeks, but I think it was a little too early," Street said. "What are they going to do during the month of October when people are really paying attention?"
Street was one of a half-dozen mayors who joined Democratic Chairman Terry McAuliffe (search) and Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (search) for a briefing a half-dozen blocks south of the GOP convention. The mayors, including Robert Baines of Manchester, N.H.; Jack Ford of Toledo, Ohio; Tom Barrett of Milwaukee; Michael Coleman of Columbus, Ohio; and John Marks, of Tallahassee, Fla., talked about how Bush administration policies are hurting cities by cutting federal funding for housing and policing.
"We're protecting Baghdad, but we can't protect people in our own housing projects," Trenton, N.J., Mayor Douglas Palmer said.
Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt rejected claims the convention has an angry tone. He said people are interested in hearing Republicans contrast the president's clear plans with Kerry's "vacillation and indecisiveness."