...Mr. Kerry's transformation into an empathetic candidate with a decidedly blue collar on his navy pinstriped suit began months ago as he struggled to connect with audiences put off by his patrician manner and emotional distance.
...Tony Coelho, who served as Al Gore's campaign chairman in the early part of his 2000 campaign, said Mr. Kerry seemed to have left his cerebral policy wonkishness in Iowa, where at the low point of his campaign he had nothing to lose by loosening up. "He had a lot of Gore in him," Mr. Coelho said.
If Mr. Kerry's transformation lasts, Mr. Coelho said, "this is going to help him out tremendously against Bush, because that's what Bush has."
"If Kerry, who everybody agrees has intellectual curiosity, has inner peace, he'll go against Bush, who has that, but no intellectual curiosity," he said.
Mr. Coelho described that inner peace as "being able to reach out to people, hug them, and touch them — as opposed to being the brightest kid in class."
"The danger is," he added, "if it's not real, it will come out."
It's alive! Relax, not really. If a Gore advisor thinks you have an authenticity problem, you have an authenticity problem.
The Dems had a choice between a media favorite and an annoying phony back in 2000. They went with Big AL, and how did that work out? Now, in a bizarre replay they have a choice between a charismatic chap the media could learn to love, and an annoying phony. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, I'm a registered Dem.
OK, end of digression. Let's see how the Friends of Tall John at the NY Times cover his "real moments":
Mr. Kerry's moments with such workers at times seem forced, and almost always clearly delineated. Typically he steps out of his dress shoes and into duck boots, throws a barn coat over his suit, and slips into a kind of dialect heavy on "Hey, man" and accompanied by shoulder-clasps.
Outside Youngstown, Ohio, on Wednesday, he tramped through a rusting, long-abandoned steel mill with a few members of the steelworkers' union who said they had been locked out of work at a titanium plant since last October.
Randy Velk, 50, said he had diabetes and was finding it difficult to pay his $500-a-month prescription drug bills. "I only work sporadically," he said. "It's really tough."
Mr. Kerry said, "That's tough, man."
MORE: Media impatience with Sen. "Coin-toss" Kerry reveals itself during the contentious Democratic candidates debate on Sunday. When reporters ask you on national television "is that a yes or a no", that is a bad sign. Especially when you are in the misdst of correctly answering "it depends", but the reporter doesn't believe it coming from you. Then again, if the reporter is a rude lunatic, maybe this is not a straw in the wind.