The room has three long tables lined with computers. Most are staffed by college students or recent graduates who constantly monitor politically oriented Web sites and watch the television monitors, which are regularly tuned to all of the major cable and financial news networks, the various C-Span feeds and the major broadcast networks.
The core war room staff of eight begins its workday at 5 a.m. But it is a 24-hour operation, fueled by Coca-Cola, coffee and Slurpees. Overnight three to four interns watch the late news programs, the late-night comedy shows and the Internet for any campaign news. One critical overnight job is to collect the most important items from the morning newspapers.
Another task is to seek any new clues in local papers about planned appearances by Mr. Kerry, Mr. Edwards or their prominent surrogates so that the campaign can plan to send its own friendly state representatives to speak against the Kerry campaign. The schedule, which is sent out to senior Bush communications aides, is titled “Wild-Eyed Watch.”
Rutenberg says the war room was modeled after Clinton’s in 1992, that, Rutenberg says, was designed to go on defense to answer attacks by Republicans. The Bush one, says Rutenberg, is for offense.
The statement isn’t accurate. As James Carville said, it was to keep hitting because the opponent can’t attack when he’s being punched in the face.