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Strategies shaped an epic race A look behind Kennedy-Romney
[City Edition]
Boston Globe (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Boston, Mass.
Author: Ben Bradlee Jr. and Daniel Golden, Globe Staff
Date: Nov 10, 1994
Start Page: 1
Section: Metro/Region
Abstract (Document Summary)

Romney later tried to turn the tables by attacking Kennedy's investments. His campaign leaked material to the Herald about a deal in which the senator acquired Washington real estate. The campaign tried to capitalize on the story with TV and radio ads, but it miscalculated that voters would believe that Kennedy, whatever his other faults, could be financially corrupt. Also, unlike Romney during Ampad, Kennedy responded. His campaign identified factual problems with the Washington story and got former Sen. Paul Tsongas to denounce the Romney ads, blunting their impact.

Romney also sought to appeal to working women by asking Kennedy about the "glass ceiling" facing them. But the question allowed Kennedy to tout his own credentials on women's rights. "That question was like asking Babe Ruth how to hit a ball," said [Shrum]. That night, the Kennedy campaign assembled a group of undecided and "soft" voters - those leaning but not committed to Kennedy or Romney - and had them watch the debate. The group scored it for Kennedy by nearly a 2-1 margin. Later, [Michael Kennedy] approached Staples Chairman and Romney confidant Thomas Stemberg through an intermediary with an offer: if Romney would limit television spending, the senator would too. But the Romney campaign, trailing in the polls refused. THE FUTURE

Early in October, a Kennedy sign-holder in a rundown part of Dorchester warned Romney to stay away from "Kennedy country." Increasingly worried that his campaign lacked a defining theme, Romney sensed that "Kennedy country" could resonate as a metaphor for all urban areas where liberal policies had failed to solve crime, welfare dependancy and economic disinvestment. According to Ann Romney, she and her husband discussed the slogan for weeks, and proposed it for a television ad, but were dissuaded by advisers. Unable to contain himself any longer, Romney criticized "Kennedy country" in his closing speech at the second debate on Oct. 27 in Holyoke. He used the slogan effectively over the next 10 days, but by then it was too late. With Kennedy's victory a foregone conclusion, the buzz in the campaign's waning days turned to whether Romney would challenge Sen. John Kerry in 1996. But Ann Romney, who a year before had urged her husband to run against Kennedy, now seemed disillusioned with politics. Riding to an Oct. 29 rally in Quincy, with her husband dozing beside her, she was asked whether more campaigns were in her future. "Never," she said. "You couldn't pay me to do this again."

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