President Bush barnstorms through Pennsylvania on a bus tour today, stopping for an "Ask President Bush" event in Kutztown (11:00 am ET), a speech at Lapp Electrical Service in Lancaster in which he is expected to extend his criticism of Kerry and Edwards' "values," (3:25 ET), and a rally in York (6:10 pm ET).
Sens. Kerry and Edwards are traversing the country meanwhile, beginning with two fundraisers in the same place (Pier 94 in New York) this morning, followed by an airport hanger rally in Beaver, W.Va. (1:15 pm ET), and another rally at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, N.M. (8:00 pm ET).
In Washington, Ralph Nader and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean debate at 2:00 pm ET. In a different kind of drinking game, Nader has asked his supporters to donate $5 each time Dean uses one of 10 phrases, including "Florida 2000."
Today was the deadline for Ralph Nader to register for the Nevada ballot; Nader's campaign submitted 11,000 signatures, twice the required number, yesterday.
And today in Hollywood, Fla., the Democratic National Committee's platform committee begins a two-day hearing to approve the draft of the 2004 Democratic Party platform.
Over the weekend, President Bush is in Washington, D.C. On Sunday at 4:00 pm ET, he'll spend a little time taking in a T-Ball game on the White House lawn. Sens. Kerry and Edwards start their Saturdays with speeches to UNITE and LULAC in New Mexico before heading to Edwards' home state for a Raleigh rally. On Sunday they attend church together in Raleigh before ending their buddy film rollout and heading to Boston and Washington, respectively. Don't expect Edwards back on the trail again until mid-week.
ABC News Vote 2004: Kerry-Edwards '04:
Despite the focus on Sen. Edwards' appeal in the South, his biggest strength may be his appeal to rural and independent voters in battlegrounds outside the region, the New York Times' Adam Nagourney writes.
It's all about the margins -- even a small percentage of voters in rural areas, not to mention independents, could make the difference. And Nagourney throws in a couple of interesting quotes from Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio that outline some of the reasons why President Bush may have been a little cranky the other day -- even though we'd caution against buying into the "magical transformation" line pushed by party officials.
"'He appeals to the Southern moderates, who in the past may have voted for the Republicans,' Mr. Fabrizio added. 'He's got a populist message, so it can go to union members; a sizable number of union members might have voted for George Bush. I think Edwards is appealing to female voters.'" LINK
The Washington Post's Jim VandeHei reports "Sen. John F. Kerry and President Bush escalated a fight Thursday over values that is increasingly coloring the election-year debate heading into the national conventions." LINK
The Boston Globe's Raja Mishra looks at why the Kerry-Edwards visit to the battleground state of Florida yesterday was so important. "Half-a-dozen crucial voting blocs are scattered up and down the state: blue-collar conservatives in the Panhandle, a diverse group of Latino neighborhoods in and around Miami, middle-class suburban and exurban communities in the center of the state, a massive veterans population on both coasts, and seniors everywhere. Even Cuban-Americans, once solidly GOP, could be within Kerry's reach." LINK