Richard Wolffe


While the president gets briefed in his high-tech Sit Room deep in the West Wing's basement, John Kerry's intel sessions are a much more makeshift affair.


To the rest of the world, Matthew Sandri's death in Fallujah looked like just another statistic from the war in Iraq. A 24-year-old Army medic, Specialist Sandri was killed in a rocket attack on a staging area far from the front lines in March.


Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry claims he'll fix American intelligence and make America safer at home and more respected abroad. James P. Rubin, senior foreign-policy adviser to the campaign, sat down in Detroit with NEWSWEEK's Richard Wolffe to explain what would be different under a Kerry administration.

Trail Mix: Inside the Bubble

Just in case John Kerry was feeling a little too pumped after his weeklong party in Boston, the real world was waiting to bring him back down to earth. On the first day of his postconvention bus trip (formally known as the Believe in America tour), Kerry stopped at a Wendy's to see if America believed in him.

'The Bullying...Will Come to an End'

Last Thursday, the same day that the 9/11 Commission published its long-awaited report on events leading up to and following the 2001 terror attacks, John Kerry promised to fix American intelligence as part of his strategy to make America safer at home and more respected in the world.

Trail Mix: High Hopes

After four days of extreme sports and extreme speechwriting on Nantucket, John Kerry embarked on his countdown to the Democratic convention looking unusually unstressed.

Trail Mix: That's the Ticket

John Kerry bounded on stage, punched both fists towards today's crowd in downtown Pittsburgh, and plucked a speech out of his back pocket. For the first few minutes, he smirked, he smiled, and he tried to suppress a grin.

Trail Mix: Yes, Backdrops Do Matter

It was supposed to be a week for John Kerry to show off his support for science and high-tech matters. So sure enough, the Democratic presidential candidate rolled into San Jose last Thursday, the self-styled capital of Silicon Valley, to talk about the new frontiers of broadband, biosensors and nanotechnology.


U.S. AFFAIRSThe Clinton FactorAs John Kerry toyed last month with the idea of delaying his official nomination, one voice broke though the babble of advisers and aides: Bill Clinton's.

Trail Mix: Off Message

It was only 10 minutes into what was billed as a relaxed "conversation" about prescription drugs. But after leafing through his talking points, perched on a small black box in front of his chair, the president was clearly struggling. "I'm just about running out of air," he joked, before handing things over to the other four people on stage. "Want me to keep talking?" In less than 40 minutes, the conversation was over.

Trail Mix: Another Comeback Kid?

Most polls put John Kerry in a statistical dead heat with George W. Bush. But the Democratic campaign likes to pick out the surveys that give their candidate a slight edge, saying that no other challenger in the last half-century has been faring so well at this stage of the race.

Trail Mix: A Gaping Hole

In years to come, historians will wonder why this Bush administration enjoyed such a strong reputation for its foreign policy for so long. After all, it was only a few weeks ago that Washington's pundit class, spurred on by the rival presidential campaigns, declared that George W.

Mack The Knife Vs. Geek Chic

In the red corner is the ex- songwriter from Austin, Texas, backed by the talent who brought you the talking dog that loves Taco Bell. In the blue corner is the wonkish ex-pollster from Providence, R.I., who prefers the edit room to the talk-show circuit.

Trail Mix: Losing The Moral High Ground

At a pancake breakfast yesterday morning in Lucas County, Ohio, George W. Bush struck the high note--and the low note--of this presidential election. After lampooning rival candidate John Kerry for some of his seemingly contradictory statements (like whether or not he owns an SUV), the president turned to his own character. "It's very important for the president of the United States to speak clearly, and when he says something, mean what he says," Bush declared. "In order to make the world more...

Charm Offensive

Almost exactly a year ago, Colin Powell arrived at NATO's bleak headquarters in Brussels to heal the wounds of divisions over the war in Iraq. By his sheer presence and charm, the secretary of State reassured the troubled and troublesome allies.

Trail Mix: Forgotten Lessons

Colin Powell and Richard Armitage are two of the most relaxed, accomplished performers you're likely to witness at any hearing on Capitol Hill. But inside the Hart Senate building at the 9/11 commission today, they looked like they were chewing lemons.

Attack Politics

Here's a pop quiz. Which presidential candidate said the following: "We have partners, not satellites...The United States needs its European allies, as well as friends in other regions, to help us with security challenges as they arise." Confused?

Into the Fray

John Kerry was padding around his backstage room with his family and senior staff when his last serious rival appeared on TV. Three floors below in Washington's historic Old Post Office building, the Massachusetts senator's D.C. supporters and staff were already filling the atrium where the cameras were waiting for his victory speech.