The morning walks of Prime Minister John Howard are something of an anomaly in a time when political parties try to carefully control every word and movement of their leader to make sure that there is no disruption of the chosen message. Itineraries are kept secret from journalists until the very last moment to thwart any would-be hecklers and demonstrators who might otherwise get advance notice.
Those track-suited Prime Ministerial power walks are the only exception. Every television watcher knows that the PM will stride out purposefully from wherever he sleeps to get his exercise before starting the working day proper. Every day. If you want to get yourself on television just be up early yourself.
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Perhaps the surprising thing is that so few people take advantage of this daily opportunity to spread their message. So far during this campaign, with the exception of those Chaser boys, there have been very few planned interruptions of Mr Howard’s routine.
This morning there was an unplanned incident when Mr Howard was called a “bloody ar-ehole” while walking along the banks of the River Torrens by a middle aged rower. And yesterday, enjoying his regular early morning walk along the shore of Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin, another walker shouted at him “You’re a disgrace, John.”
Neither incident was very serious but they show the risk of the daily campaign strategy being sabotaged that must surely outweigh any advantage that the track suited image provides.
And the Crikey Daily Verdict, as well as the polls, shows that the Coalition campaign cannot afford upsets. Yesterday provided Labor with another clear win.