Muchos fueron los republicanos tentados de entrar en la carrera en el año 2000. La retirada de Bill Clinton suponía el final de dos mandatos demócratas consecutivos. Los analistas habían personalziado ese éxito en el talento individual del saliente Clinton. Ahora, los demócratas quedaban huérfanos de un liderazgo fuerte y los republicanos veían una ocasión única para asaltar la Casa Blanca.
Hasta 11 precandidatos republicanos presentaron sus candidaturas a la nominación: el ex Gobernador Lamar Alexander, de Tennessee; el activista conservador Gary Bauer; el Gobernador George W. Bush, de Texas; la ex Secretaria de Trabajo Elizabeth Dole; el multimillonario Steve Forbes; el Senador Orrin Hatch, de Utah; el Congresista John Kasich, de Ohio; el ex embajador Alan Keyes; el Senador John McCain, de Arizona; el ex Vicepresidente Dan Quayle; y el Senador Bob Smith, de New Hampshire. Pero finalmente todo se reduciría a una brutal batalla entre Bush, candidato del aparato del partido, y McCain, el maverick insurgente.
Fuentes: Wikipedia y Union Leader.
(...) Following Bob Dole's loss to Bill Clinton in the 1996 election, George W. Bush became the frontrunner, acquiring unprecedented funding and a broad base of leadership support. In 1998, Governor Bush won re-election in Texas in a landslide victory with nearly 69 percent of the vote. Bush, the governor of the second-largest state in the Union, the son of a former president, and the favored candidate of the Christian right, was portrayed in the media as the establishment candidate. Bush's campaign was managed by Karl Rove, Karen Hughes and Joe Albaugh, as well as by other political associates from Texas. He was endorsed by a majority of Republicans in 38 state legislatures.
Bush had launched an expensive strategy that sought a quick victory in the early states. He spent $50 million of his $70 million campaign war chest before January 31, 2000, indicating his desire to quickly end any challenge. In the first, non-binding, test of electability for the Republican Party nomination, the Iowa Straw Poll, Bush was the winner, with Steve Forbes second. Elizabeth Dole placed third and she pulled out of the race in October 1999 before any of the primaries, largely due to inadequate fundraising. In January, Bush easily won Iowa Caucus.
Several aspirants withdrew before the Iowa Caucus, unable to secure funding and endorsements sufficient to remain competitive with Bush. These included Alexander, Dole, Kasich, Quayle, and Smith. Steve Forbes, who could self-finance, did compete in the early contests, but did not do as well as he had in 1996. By late February, Bauer, Forbes, and Hatch had all dropped out. That left Bush, McCain, and Keyes as the only candidates still in the race.
En la imagen: John McCain y su mujer Cindy, 2000.
The New Hampshire primary shook up the Republican field, giving U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona a landslide win (48 to 30 percent) over Texas Gov. George W. Bush. Steve Forbes came in third, followed by Alan Keyes and Gary Bauer with a fraction of the Republican vote. Voter attention to the issues was further enhanced by McCain, whose campaign bypassed the Iowa caucuses to focus nearly full time in New Hampshire. His “Straight Talk Express” bus tour of the state resulted in more than 100 town meetings, where he met more than 60,000 people.
The main primary season, then, came down to a race between Bush and McCain. McCain's campaign, centered on campaign finance reform, drew the most press coverage and the greatest popular excitement. Many Republicans complained that Democrats and other non-Republicans enrolled in the party for the express purpose of voting for McCain, thus skewing the results. Bush's campaign focused on "compassionate conservatism", including a greater role for the federal government in funding education and large reductions in the income and capital gains tax rates.
In the South Carolina primary, however, Bush soundly defeated McCain. Some credited Bush's win to the fact that it was the first major primary in which only registered Republicans could vote, which negated McCain's strong advantage among independents. Some McCain supporters blamed it on a campaign of dirty tricks such as push polling, including the false suggestion that McCain fathered an African-American child out of wedlock, perpetrated against McCain by his political enemies. Whatever the real reason, McCain's loss in South Carolina stopped his momentum cold. Analysts attribute McCain's loss in South Carolina to Bush's mobilization of the state's evangelical voters.
En la imagen: George W. Bush hace campaña en Carolina del Sur, 2000.
Allegations were made that Karl Rove was responsible for a South Carolina push poll that used racist innuendo intended to undermine support for McCain: "Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain for president if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?". Although McCain campaign manager Richard Davis said he "had no idea who had made those calls, who paid for them, or how many were made," John Weaver, political director for McCain's 2000 campaign bid, said "I believe I know where that decision was made; it was at the top of the [Bush] campaign." Rove has denied any such involvement.
Senator John McCain's campaign roared back to life february 23 with wins in the Michigan primary and his home state of Arizona. McCain beat George W. Bush in the open Michigan contest by cobbling together a combination of moderate Republicans, independents, and a surprisingly large number of Democrats. Bush had hoped to dispatch McCain in Michigan, where the Texas governor was backed by the political machine of the state's controversial governor, Republican John Engler. But Engler's efforts may have backfired by bringing out Democrats to vote for McCain.
McCain had 50 percent of the vote in Michigan to Bush's 44. Former ambassador Alan Keyes trailed with 5 percent. In Arizona, McCain beat Bush by 60 percent to 36 percent, with Keyes a distant third, at 4 percent. McCain comeback launched the Republican contest into a dramatic two-week dash toward the March 7 Super-Tuesday blockbuster round of more than a dozen primaries and caucuses.
But Senator McCain made serious mistakes that negated any momentum he may have regained with the Michigan victory. In Virginia, he began criticizing conservative Christian leaders Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. McCain lost the Virginia primary and then, a week later, went on to lose 9 of the 13 primaries on Super Tuesday. His overall loss on that day has been attributed to his going "off message", ineffectively accusing Bush of being anti-Catholic in response to his visit to Bob Jones University and getting into a verbal battle with leaders of the Religious Right. McCain would go on to win a few more primaries (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Vermont), but in a two-man contest he was unable to catch up.
Texas Governor George W. Bush took the majority and handily won the nomination at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. In July 2000, the name of former Senator John Danforth (R - Missouri) was leaked as being on the short list of potential vice presidential nominees for Republican candidate George W. Bush, along with Michigan Governor John Engler, New York Governor George Pataki, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating and former Secretary of Labor Elizabeth Dole.
Bush secretly met with Danforth at a hotel in Chicago, and three days later Danforth held a press conference stating he would be stepping down from his appointed role in the Waco investigations because an unforeseen political opportunity had suddenly come up. However, despite growing speculation that John Danforth was Bush's final pick, Bush surprised pundits selecting former Scretary of Defense, Dick Cheney, to be his running-mate. (...)
Video del discurso completo de George W. Bush en la Convención Republicana de 2000, en Philadelphia (Real Player).