For Democrats, Economy's Surge Poses Challenge
By DAVID LEONHARDT
Published: November 2, 2003
or more than two years now, the Democrats seeking the presidency have planned on running a 2004 campaign built around the weak economy and patterned after Bill Clinton's 1992 defeat of President Bush's father.
But with the economy having surged this past quarter they are suddenly confronting the possibility of a far less encouraging historical comparison: that the election year economy could be more like the one Ronald Reagan ran on in 1984, when the country was coming out of a long slump.
The rapid change in the outlook — underscored by figures released on Thursday showing the fastest quarterly economic growth since 1984 — is already forcing the Democratic presidential candidates to calibrate their attack on Mr. Bush's economic record in ways they did not have to just a week ago. It has also left them in danger of looking as though they were clinging to economic gloom