Guest blogged from DC by Margie Burns
(NOTE: Margie will appear on today's Peter B. Collins Show as Guest Hosted by Brad Friedman, to discuss this article.)
Team Bush began describing candidate George W. Bush as a “compassionate conservative” in 1998, when Bush began his open run for president, as opposed to the behind-the-scenes operation that had begun with his first run for governor of Texas in 1994. By the time the 2000 presidential campaign was in full swing, probably every American with a television had heard the label. In fact, as the actual election approached, the Bush campaign often took to preferring “reformer with results” --- reacting to a margin of diminishing returns for “compassionate conservative.”
Where did they get the “compassionate conservative” label? Hardly anyone would remember or notice in 1998, but the New York Times had run it front-page on August 7, 1978, when Pope Paul VI died and the Times ran his photograph, captioned prominently as a “Compassionate Conservative,” above the fold.
But a 1978 issue of the Times was not the first step in resurrecting "compassionate conservative" as a campaign slogan...