Schmidt: ‘04 GOP convention changed the race. Will Charlotte do the same?


In 2004, the Republican National Convention changed the national dialogue and perhaps the outcome of that year’s election. This year, some think it may be the Democrats’ chance to use their get-together to change history.

“Eight years ago, [President George W. Bush] went into that convention under 50 percent, he went into that convention with the chief issue of that campaign being Iraq,” Steve Schmidt, who worked for Bush’s campaign that year as well as John McCain’s presidential bid in 2008, told Rachel Maddow Tuesday. “The war had become unpopular; people viewed it as a mistake. That all turned around at the convention.”

After the convention, popular opinion on Iraq turned and voters sided with Bush. “The president came out with the lead and never looked back for the rest of the campaign,” Schmidt added.

If the Obama campaign can change the conversation on the economy in a similar way, they may see “a real bounce,” Schmidt said.

Chris Hayes, the host of msnbc’s Up with Chris Hayes agreed, adding that the change in voter opinion after that ‘04 convention in Bush’s favor was “enormous,” and that “it really single-handedly turned that election around.”


Romney has enjoyed no such bounce in the polls.

“What we’re seeing right now, the numbers coming out of the Republican National Convention right now look nothing like that,” Hayes noted. “There’s a real opportunity now, just purely polling, to have your message for three straight days.”