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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 February, 2004, 05:08 GMT
US media crowns Kerry
Although John Edwards said this was an election, not a coronation, the message from the US media after Tuesday's primaries was of inevitability, that John Kerry was all but certain to be the Democratic Party's choice to challenge George W Bush.

John Kerry and his wife Teresa celebrate at a primary night party at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va
Pundits warn Kerry that a hard-fought and nasty campaign lies ahead
"It's starting to feel like a freight train rolling down the tracks," CNN's Aaron Brown said as John Kerry rolled to resounding victories in Virginia and Tennessee.

To John Kerry's opponents, he said: "It's not too early to say, 'How are you going to stop this?'."

CNN's Judy Woodruff said: "This is remarkable. A Massachusetts Democrat, a liberal, doing well in two states in the South against two southerners."

"(John Kerry) is going to be a force to be reckoned with," she added.

'Hitting the president'

And pundits marvelled at how unified Democrats appeared in their support of John Kerry and in their opposition against George Bush.

President George W Bush addresses an audience at the SRC Automotive in Springfield, Missouri
Bush is facing full frontal attack from the Democrats

In polls, "80% of Democrats are angry or unhappy about George Bush, are angry about Iraq and unhappy over the economy," said the NBC's Tim Russert.

A party has never chosen their candidate by February, he added.

And never has a sitting president faced the kind of full frontal attack that the Democratic Party has launched in questioning George Bush's military service.

"At the very start, the Democrats are hitting the president on the issue of character. This is unprecedented," Newsweek's Joe Klein said on CNN.

Mission impossible?

But while Mr Bush's star may be momentarily on the wane as a confident John Kerry rolls to the victory after victory, a hard-fought, nasty campaign lies ahead.

"George Bush has $130m waiting for (the Democrats)," NBC's Tim Russert said, adding that the election will most likely be breathtakingly close.

Mr Klein said that John Kerry should enjoy the seemingly easy victories now.

"There is going to be a lot of pain down the road. This is going to be a close, hard, tough election. It's nearly impossible to beat an incumbent president," he added.

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