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By Reid Wilson
Dems can dramatically alter the electoral playing field by tying GOP candidates to George W. Bush, but at the moment, the public sees a difference between the former president and his party in Congress.
Dems have tried repeatedly to tie the GOP to Bush's economic policies, which remain highly unpopular. But so far, that hasn't worked, according to officials at the Dem-leaning Third Way think tank.
"Just eighteen months after President Bush left office with the nation's economy in historic freefall, two-thirds of Americans now see congressional Republicans and their economic ideas as new and completely separate from those of the former president," the group wrote in a strategy memo sent to Dem leaders last month.
A majority, 53%, of Americans still blame Pres. Bush for the country's economic woes, while 26% pin the blame on Pres. Obama. Only 14% give Bush excellent or good ratings on handling the federal budget, and 28% say he helped the middle class, according to a survey from Benenson Strategy Group.
In other words, Democrats think the public is stupid and can't figure out the Bush is no longer the symbolic head of the Republican party.