Cheney took one small step closer to warm and fuzzy today on a campaign swing that took him from Henderson, Nev., to Springfield, Mo., for a speech: a stop at a large outdoor sporting goods store and a campaign rally -- complete with posed pictures with supporters and holding babies.
The Vice President's motorcade pulled right up to the door at the Bass Pro Shops in Springfield as customers in the parking lot looked with confusion and interest at the spectacle of Suburbans and vans containing staff and reporters who quickly unloaded to catch up with a brisk-paced Vice President.
Cheney, an avid outdoorsman who counts fishing and hunting among his top hobbies, took his time looking over the equipment in the store, pausing to feel a few pairs of waders and check out the matching jacket.
Cheney's wife, Lynne, accompanied him on the trip, separating from her husband to shop around for gifts for her grandchildren and even pick up something for the newest grandchild, who is on the way in a couple of weeks.
Mrs. Cheney found a camouflage baby outfit, asking her husband, "Are they cute or what?" before he left the main section of the store to try on his waders in privacy, away from the gathering crowd and traveling press that followed him through the store.
Cheney perused much of the store and made a point of stopping by the hunting section. He contributed to the local economy, paying with a credit card for a pair of waders and a cleaner for his 12-gauge shotgun.
The Vice President finished the day with a Bush-Cheney '04 rally at the Springfield Expo Center before 1,200 loud and enthusiastic supporters.
At the rally, originally planned for June 11 but rescheduled because of President Reagan's funeral, Cheney largely stuck to prepared remarks and spoke from a podium.
He did do a turn as candidate at the end of the speech, coming off the stage to work the ropeline for about 10 minutes. Cheney shook hands, waved to the crowd and even held a couple of babies, including one decked out in a one-piece outfit adorned with "Bush-Cheney" -- but no camouflage baby outfits in sight.
Cheney is back on the campaign trail later this week with a rally planned for Friday afternoon in Sioux City, Iowa.
ABC News Vote 2004: Sen. John Kerry:
In his recap of Sen. John Kerry's Monday, the Boston Globe's Patrick Healy Notes, "With the Bush campaign aggressively labeling Kerry a "pessimist" -- including in a new Colorado radio ad that was timed to his visit to the state -- Kerry used the word "dream" seven times at an outdoor rally in Denver to try to distinguish himself from Bush by setting lofty goals of spending billions more on biomedical, scientific, and alternative-energy research. LINK
The Denver Post's David Olinger and Karen Crummy report that about 1,000 "umbrella-toting Kerry supporters waited for hours in a chilly afternoon rain at Denver's Civic Center to hear him speak" on Monday. LINK
The AP's Nedra Pickler reports on Kerry's decision to cancel his trip to New Mexico today. LINK
The Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman writes about the letter released yesterday by 48 Nobel laureates criticizing President Bush for his approach to scientific research and the environment, saying that Sen. Kerry would bring science back to its place in government -- referring, of course, to stem cell research among other things. LINK