The Times, alas, is not alone. The Associated Press’ Deb Riechmann files her own President Bush “mood” story today — headlined, “Bush Relishes Last Day of Campaigning” — for which she relies entirely on a press conference Bush gave to reporters at which he assured them that “I have the energy and the optimism and the enthusiasm to cross the line” and “said he was confident he would be re-elected.” He also, Riechmann reports, “flashed a thumbs-up and cried, ‘Oh yeah!’ as he boarded Air Force One.”

Who’s kidding whom? All of this is concocted by campaign aides on both sides, confident that if they spoon-feed these moments of “calculated” confidence and joviality to journalists who dutifully report them, then voters everywhere will start to see the relaxed, loose-as-a-goose candidate as a lock, coasting home on a prayer and a yuk.

Yeah, right.

Liz Cox Barrett

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.