What came first? The chicken or the egg?
When John Kerry visited Atlanta's most famous black church last month, parishioners at Ebenezer Baptist had to be nudged back to their pews after hundreds rushed to meet the Democratic front-runner. When President Bush solemnly placed a wreath at the Atlanta grave of Martin Luther King Jr. a few weeks earlier, a low chorus of boos rumbled from protesters across the street.
Black voters, the most loyal of Democrats, were quick to close ranks around Kerry during the party's primaries, underscoring Bush's challenge in trying to improve his showing among black voters this fall. Bush would have to go back to Barry Goldwater in 1964 to find a Republican presidential candidate who did worse than the 9 percent he claimed in 2000.