The Florida trip is the beginning of a five-day tour that will take him through Ohio (Saturday and Wednesday), West Virginia (Sunday), New Hampshire and Michigan (Monday), and Tennessee and Iowa (Tuesday), leading up to his New York City arrival next Wednesday.
Kerry is out West today talking about protecting consumers from mortgage brokers, credit card companies, and payday lenders with a partially new plan designed to attack President Bush as "not on families' side."
He begins his day in the non-battleground state of California in most non-battleground city of San Francisco with a 12:15 pm ET town hall just outside the city and a 3:00 pm ET fundraiser inside it. Kerry then flies to Everett, WA, just outside of Seattle, for an 8:15 pm ET town hall and an 11:30 am ET fundraiser in downtown Seattle.
Kerry has one event tomorrow in Tacoma, WA, before heading to Nantucket, where he'll spend the entire week except for a trip to the American Legion convention on Wednesday, one day after Bush addresses the same group.
Sen. John Edwards today has a single 11:30 am ET event in St. Charles, MO, before heading to Washington for the weekend, and his wife Elizabeth Edwards has a single 9:30 am ET event in Tampa, also before heading to Washington.
ABC News Vote 2004: Bush v. Kerry:
Barb Chiamulera of Florence, WI, speaking with the Los Angeles Times, precisely placed the presidential contest in these stark terms: "disappointment in Bush" vs. "uncertainty about Kerry." There's the rub!
Ron Brownstein and Kathleen Hennessy roll out the paper's day two poll numbers from Ohio, Missouri, and Wisconsin and the president is edging out (within margins of error) Sen. Kerry in all three. And perhaps we should start listening to all those folks who keep telling you (and us) that Missouri is tightening up! LINK
Ohio: Bush 49% Kerry 44%
Wisconsin: Bush 48% Kerry 44%
Missouri: Bush 46% Kerry 44%
(Even Ken Mehlman would have to concede Sen. Kerry's consistency here!)
" … the state surveys underscore Kerry's difficulty in converting a general desire for change into support for his candidacy."
The Wall Street Journal 's John Harwood writes up the latest Journal/NBC News poll, which shows President Bush with 47 percent support nationally to Sen. Kerry's 45 percent, inside the 3.5 percent margin of error.
Harwood Notes, "Three years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 transformed [Bush's] presidency, his handling of the war on terror continues to give him a solid foundation of support," though "majorities disapproving of his approach to critical foreign and domestic issues alike and saying his policies on Iraq, health care and jobs and the economy need "major adjustments" or outright reversal. Among the one in five voters who say they are undecided or leaning one way but open to persuasion, those majorities are overwhelming." LINK
Other highlights: Kerry ahead by 4 points in 17 battleground states, and a whopping 60 percent wrong-track number.
Complete poll results: LINK
Today's Washington Wire has all sort of fun stuff, including additional WSJ/NBC numbers, a vague hint at a kicked-around major tax change, and booking and battleground state book tour wars from Kitty Kelley and Robert Rubin.