2) "The Reasonable Reactionary"—As soon as the Robertson/Falwell fuss passes, we'll do heavy buys of ads with this tag line on cable channels in East Texas, Bakersfield, and selected precincts of Orange County. (More good news: Randall Terry has agreed to do a spot for us as part of this buy.)
3) "A Muscular Moderate"—We're working this hard in south Florida, also in key swing districts from Venice Beach to San Diego. Theme will be reinforced with free media next week when we have scheduled the governor to appear at a volleyball tournament in Daytona Beach. Plan is for him to take off his shirt during the game. We expect the networks to go with the footage. This will cut into the tanned and buff bloc, which is trending toward Gore. Added benefit: We may be able to lure McCain into taking off his shirt.
At the same time, we plan to spam Web sites devoted to veterans, golfers, weightlifters, and PalmPilot users. Message is that McCain has backed out of a previous agreement to compete against Bush in the annual VFW ProAm at La Costa Country Club. This will subtly reinforce muscularity theme without alienating females. (Spammers will cost $4,000 per day but have plausible deniability.)
4) Post-Super Tuesday (March 7-30) "Leadership That Leads." This theme consolidates the governor's strength (wisdom), cuts his negatives, and consolidates our lead.
5) In Texas we reinforce this LTL message by having staff emphasize to the press corps that McCain is from Arizona and reminding them of another candidate from Arizona: Barry Goldwater. Surrogates follow up with informal anti-McCain slogan: "In Your Guts, You Know He's Nuts." This wins over wavering LBJ Democrats.
(Note: Alliteration Committee had agreed to the use of this slogan, noting that it refers to the opposition, not the governor.)
6) (April 1-30) We follow up by booking the governor on Nightline, where he tells Koppel his platform is based on character, as embodied in the slogan "A Smile, Not a Smirk."
This will confound and enrage McCain. We get valuable footage of him frowning and also neutralize the emerging anti-smirk sentiment which is trending against us 2-1.
7) Maneuver should give us crucial momentum going into the all-important Custer County beauty contest straw poll in Utah, where the grass-roots Republican electorate should be amenable to the governor's political message that he's a spiritually motivated "Progressive Pragmatist."
Extensive focus group work shows that this bold but sensible theme works well with online marrieds with children over 40. Should carry us through May.