With President Bush still scoring stunningly high in public opinion polls, the environment is shaping up to be his Achilles’ heel — and Democrats aren’t hesitating to aim their arrows. Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), both potential presidential candidates for 2004, have attacked Bush’s environmental policies, and former Vice President Al Gore has decried the president’s laissez-faire approach to global warming. To capitalize on the president’s weak point, Democrats are angling to recast environmental issues as national security issues, saying the war on terrorism highlights the need for an energy policy that doesn’t rely on oil. In what may be an even more important shift, Dems are trying to refashion environmentalism (once thought of as the province of the elite) as a populist concern, arguing that Bush’s policies favor massive companies (can anyone say Enron?) at the expense of the environment and the little guy.

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