Three times at Friday night's debate, President Bush talked about enemies "hiding" -- once referring to terrorists "hiding around the globe" and twice referring to John Kerry. In language he most often uses to taunt Osama and his minions, Bush turned a familiar terror war phrase about running and hiding on Senator Kerry. On taxes: "I mean, he's got a record. It's been there for 20 years. You can run, but you can't hide." And on the "partial birth abortion ban": "He was given a chance to vote, and he voted no ... And as I said: You can run but you can't hide the reality."
The Bush camp has pushed the bounds of acceptable campaigning for insinuating that a vote for Kerry is a vote for the terrorists. That we'll get "hit again" if Kerry wins. And that Kerry, by merely disagreeing with the Bush policies, has "emboldened the enemy." To hear Bush at Friday's debate, Kerry now is the enemy, or at least is sure acting like one, with all of that running and hiding. Next we'll be hearing that Kerry needs to be "smoked out of his hole." Or that Kerry and Edwards belong to an "axis of left-wing evil."
And it sounds like Bush and Cheney are quite fond of this latest turn of the run-hide rhetoric -- it joined them on the post-debate stump. At a breakfast in Missouri this morning, Bush said of Kerry's Iraq war position: "Now he says it's the wrong war. And he's trying to tell us he's had only one position. Who is he trying to kid? He can run, but he cannot hide."
Last night in Palm Harbor, Fla., Cheney used it to rile up a partisan crowd: "It's an old Texas phrase that 'You can run but you can't hide.' The whole Kerry strategy is based on the notion that they can obscure his record," he said.