How did Philadelphia Mayor John Street turn news that the FBI had bugged his office into a huge re-election victory within a month? The Philadelphia Inquirer put the story together.
“I don’t think there was an epiphany that ‘This is the strategy,’ ” said a Democratic insider familiar with campaign deliberations. A final strategy began to form the evening that the news broke, October 7.
The Inquirer says that Street advisers discussed about how Philadelphia and Pennsylvania fit into the national political scene; how president George W. Bush had visited the area almost a dozen times since getting elected; how Bush’s approval numbers among Philadelphians were in the gutter; how Bush is the “anti-Christ in Philadelphia,” said an aide.
The timing of the probe, the fact that Republicans controlled the Justice Department and the White House, seemed to play into the Street campaign’s plans to “nationalize” the election, to make it a contest about Democrat versus GOP.
“It was almost like dumping a jigsaw puzzle out and saying, well, this doesn’t fit here, but you know what, this one fits here,” said one adviser. “But there still was this sense of wanting to hold back. And I think when we left that night, there began to be a sense of trotting out this partisan message and taking it to a national level, but that it shouldn’t be coming from the campaign. But rather, we should be getting surrogates – reliable, credible Democratic surrogates to come forward and deliver that message.”