Fear Factor 2004

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This week, fear seemed to be the political tactic of choice for the presidential candidates: their ads and speeches raised the specter of terrorism at home, flu epidemics, and losing Social Security. Vice President Cheney even evoked fear of nuclear annihilation on a campaign stop in Ohio.

Fear-raising by campaigns is not new. Images of a mushroom cloud were used effectively by Lyndon Johnson during his 1964 presidential race against Goldwater. Likewise, the specter of Willie Horton haunted the final weeks of the 1988 Bush-Dukakis presidential campaign.

Hear a discussion on how candidates use fear in the closing days of a political race.


Walter Shapiro, Political Columnist for USA Today and author of “One-Car Caravan: The Amazing True Saga of the 2004 Democratic Race form Its Humble Beginnings to the Boston Convention”

Peter Wallsten, Washington Correspondent for The Los Angeles Times