The 2004 Presidential Campaign “Real People Tour”. The Real People Tour was a 10 state, 15 day traveling assignment covered by the Columbus Dispatch political team of Joe Hallett and Jonathan Riskind along with photographer James D. DeCamp, who tried to find the real stories and opinions of the ‘real’ people of America by traversing the presidential battleground states in the midwest and finding people in their element. These are some of those stories.
The United States presidential election of 2004, the 55th quadrennial presidential election, was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Incumbent Republican President George W. Bush defeated Democraticnominee John Kerry, a United States Senator from Massachusetts.
Bush and incumbent Vice President Dick Cheney were renominated by their party with no difficulty. Former Governor Howard Dean emerged as the early front-runner in the 2004 Democratic primaries, but Kerry won the first set of primaries in January 2004 and clinched his party’s nomination in March after a series of primary victories. Kerry chose Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, who had himself sought the party’s 2004 presidential nomination, to be his running mate.
Bush’s popularity had soared early in his first term after the September 11 attacks, but his popularity declined between 2001 and 2004. Foreign policy was the dominant theme throughout the election campaign, particularly Bush’s conduct of the War on Terrorism and the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Bush presented himself as a decisive leader and attacked Kerry as a “flip-flopper”, while Kerry criticized Bush’s conduct of the Iraq War. Domestic issues were debated as well, including the economyand jobs, health care, and moral values.
Bush won a narrow victory, taking 50.7% of the popular vote and 286 electoral votes. He swept the Southand the Mountain States and took the crucial swing states of Ohio, Iowa, and New Mexico. Some aspects of the election process were subject to controversy, but not to the degree seen in the 2000 presidential election. Bush was the first candidate of either party to win a majority of the popular vote since George H. W. Bush accomplished the same feat in the 1988 election, and the younger Bush remains the only Republican since 1988 to win the popular vote. His victory also marked the first time that the Republican nominee won a presidential election without carrying any state in the Northeastern United States.