Six weeks ago, the highway ahead looked so smooth to the Bush people, they could see all the way to victory in November.
They had raised so much money, Bush had climbed to the top of the polls without really getting specific on what he intended to do as president.
But then he got himself tangled up in a silly debate over debates, talked into an open mike when he shouldn't have, and his team got caught making a stupid commercial about rats.
All of it just as Al Gore announced a startling political tactic - he promised to work hard on some issues the polls said people were really concerned about: the high cost of prescription drugs for one.
As Gore suddenly pulled up in the polls, Republicans turned so gloomy, some seemed ready to concede. I don't buy it. There's too much campaign left and Bush has finally started talking about what he intends to do if elected.
But it's going to be close and it does remind us of two old truths about politics: when it starts to look easy, it usually gets hard - and sooner or later, you have to tell people why you're running.