'Vote for Me, I'm Not Soft on Terrorism'

"The expressions of concern about the nation's safety by Mr.
Bush's prospective challengers, voiced in interviews,
speeches and television appearances over the last three
weeks, suggest that the focus of the Democratic White House
candidates in 2004 will go well beyond the traditional
Democratic fare of education, the economy, jobs and health
care. While so far the criticisms lack many specifics beyond
asking for more money for police agencies or the creation
of an additional intelligence force, campaign aides said
these early challenges on terrorism signaled what they
expected to be a central theme in 2004. They argued that
Mr. Bush was potentially vulnerable on the issue that
Republicans view as a pillar of the president's political
strength. ... Several Democrats predicted a fundamental shift in the way
presidential candidates would have to present themselves in
the 2004 campaign. They said polls showed that the voters
would now consider a presidential candidate's ability to
protect them from terrorism at home in much the same way
voters in a big city might now consider a mayoral
candidate's ability to stop crime in their neighborhoods."