ABCNEWS' Ed O'Keefe is on the trail with Sen. John Kerry as he runs for president. For the latest report, scroll down.
Kerry beats back questions about campaign, dog puppet
Nov. 12 — Senator Kerry began his Veterans Day in Arizona, still feeling ripples of campaign manager Jim Jordan's dismissal. He ended the day in California, on a couch next to Jay Leno, after being mocked by a sharp-tongued dog puppet, though making an impressive (albeit late) national television appearance.
The day started with a simple message, quickly overtaken by internal events made external. And in between, the candidate ever sharpened a strategic and rhetorical end game. Such is the new reality of a campaign struggling to collect its dirty laundry tossed suddenly into public view.
On Tuesday, after dropping by a pre-parade breakfast, Kerry rallied 150 faithful at a Phoenix meet-up. "We deserve, and Veterans deserve, a president who doesn't just go to Arlington and lay a wreath on Veterans Day," he said. "We need a president who protects the interests of veterans every day."
The Senator then faced the Arizona press, which asked one question about vets and five on his campaign's viability. Not 30 minutes before the Gibbs/Chidlow departure announcement, ABC News asked Kerry if he anticipated any further staff changes. He responded, "I can't tell you what will or won't happen at all. I'm just going to keep moving. I'm not doing the staff. I'm running as a candidate and I have great confidence in Mary Beth Cahill and Governor Shaheen — complete confidence. They'll make whatever decisions they'll make."
Following the brief avail, Kerry made his way past a gigantic Uncle Sam air balloon, several high school groups, and a military jeep to his spot in the parade cue. Eyeing Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano, Kerry walked over for a short chat.
The Senator began the conversation saying, "We've been having a little trouble lately." Napolitano calmly replied, "What are you going to do? These things happen."
As Kerry shuttled back and forth, working both sides of the two-mile Central Avenue parade route, news of the tendered resignations of campaign spokesperson Robert Gibbs and Deputy Finance Director Carl Chidlow trickled out.
Shortly afterward, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, er, beg you're pardon, Senator John F. Kerry's campaign made another significant staff change: communications ace Stephanie Cutter joined the Kerry camp, departing her plum post as DNC 2004 Convention Communications Director.
At the conclusion of the Cutter announcement, Kerry added simply, "I am sorry that Robert and Carl are leaving the campaign but I am grateful for their hard work and extraordinary contributions."
Ever the trooper, Kerry headed to California, where he appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and held a fundraiser in Los Angeles. Playing second fiddle to "Ross the Intern" and "Triumph the Insult Comic Dog," Kerry, dressed in blue jeans and a leather jacket, rolled (literally) into the broad studio on a Harley.
While blunt political strategist Triumph assessed, "The poop I made in the dressing room had more heat than John Kerry," the Massachusetts Senator performed well under the constraints of short-answer-only television.
Leno asked about the staff shake-up, to which Kerry, who obviously takes his morning dose of Howie Kurtz seriously (LINK), offered, "It's kind of a Grady Little/Pedro, eighth inning thing. Sometimes you've got to go to the bullpen."
After the unusual bit of "inside baseball" chit chat on a late night talk show, Kerry turned to the issues, where he was able to talk about education, the economy, and expectations in Iowa. The Senator even got to chime in on the 'Dated Dean, Married Kerry' strategy, pitching "We want people to start seriously thinking about who can be president."
And on foreign policy, Kerry kept it (gulp) short and simple. Leno asked how the United States could prevent Iraq from becoming Vietnam; Kerry answered sharply, "By getting the president off his high horse and performing diplomacy."
He also asked why other countries aren't coming on board in Iraq, getting an equally strong response from the Senator, "If this money is all for Halliburton, (other nations are) going to say, 'To hell with you.'"
Kerry unveils new manager and ad
Nov. 11 — Senator Kerry emerged Monday from the Paralyzed Veterans of America center in Des Moines, Iowa, the first stop on his one-day, four-stop pre-Veterans' Day tour, determined to stay on message.
Unfortunately for the campaign, from the moment the Associated Press ran its bulletin at 3:44 am Monday, only two questions dominated the day: Why did Kerry fire campaign manager Jim Jordan and what does it mean for his beleaguered campaign?
In the day's brief, solitary avail, Kerry skipped the first question and would only offer, "I wanted to change the dynamic" 10 times to numerous variations of the second. Labeled disciplined at best and desperate at worst, Kerry refused to elaborate on how or why this move would actually change the dynamic of his campaign.
He did say his bid remains in good shape, saying, "We're confident, we're moving forward." Kerry said they were entering a "new phase" and mentioned polls in Iowa showing movement in his favor and repeated predictions of the self-described "dynamic change." "You guys watch over the next weeks and you'll see it."
The Senator soldiered on, toting nearly 60 of the 1,000 committed-to-Kerry Iowan Veterans on the remaining three legs of his whirlwind bus tour. Speaking to crowds in Marshalltown, Cedar Rapids, and Iowa City, Kerry pushed concurrent receipt, health care for veterans and reservists, and fully funding education programs for military families.
By that time, however, a majority of the national reporters and even most locals had broken off to file stories plum full of details on the abrupt yet long-rumored crash of air "Jehr-den."
Back on the bus, the now Cahill-guided camp announced that the Senator became the first candidate to use footage of President George W. Bush on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln in campaign commercial.
In an ad entitled "Aircraft Carrier," the image of flight suited Bush appears as an announcer says, "Who can take on George W. Bush and change the direction of the nation?"
The 30-second ad runs in Iowa and New Hampshire, and Kerry campaign spokesperson Robert Gibbs calls it a "significant" buy.
Kerry campaigns in Phoenix, Arizona, this morning before appearing in a Veterans Day parade. Kerry then heads further west where he hopes to make a splashly triumph (get it?) on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno."
Kerry reacts to Dean's decision, gets pressed by high school student
Nov. 10 — Senator Kerry emerged from the VFW in Rochester, New Hampshire, on Saturday having heard the news he expected all day: his chief rival Howard Dean had become the first Democratic candidate in history to reject public financing, allowing him to spend without limit in pursuit of the Democratic crown.
"I'm disappointed that campaign finance on the Democratic side is coming apart," Kerry said. "[Dean's decision is] a reversal of his own statements and a reversal of his signing of legal statements."
Kerry, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, then added of his own campaign finances, "It may well involve personal money. You know, if we're out of the system, we're out of the system."
Maine Democrats had long since seen the sight of two Democratic heavyweights locked in a nomination battle charging into Saco to win their hearts and minds between chicken dinner and a chocolate dessert.
Kerry and Dean remained relatively civil if not chilly in their dislike from a distance. As expected, Dean rapped "Washington insiders" for not getting the job done and supporting programs such as No Child Left Behind and military actions such as the Iraq war.
Shortly after Dean's raucous introduction, Kerry took a seat in the rear of the room sitting at the last seat on the table. Never once clapping for his opponent's stump, Kerry gave the appearance of listening casually in between scribbling notes for his upcoming speech.
When Dean concluded, he headed straight down the center of the crowd, nearing the exit and Kerry. As the anticipated "moment" inched handshake by handshake closer, the cameras gathered and pens poised over paper. Alas, as Dean reached Kerry's table, Kerry turned his back toward Dean and chatted with restaurant workers at the bar.
After a videotaped introduction from former Senator George Mitchell, Kerry literally climbed the tables over the path down which Dean had just exited. Delivering a full-throated stump, Kerry appealed to the need for a "strong and right" candidate who will rally against "special interests in Washington," plug the loophole-filled tax code, and repeal the high end of the Bush tax cuts in favor of health care, education and other programs.
No matter how hard we try, pressing, pushing, carefully selecting just the right words for a query, sometimes no journalist can compare to the honest nature and direct words of a kid with a cause.
At Alvirne High School in Hudson, New Hampshire, on Friday, senior Kaylan Sweet asked Kerry, "Why … do politicians not answer the questions?"
The 19-year Senate vet asked for clarification and Sweet explained the he had watched Tuesday's "Rock the Vote" event in Boston and felt all the candidates at one point or another "didn't really answer (the questions) directly."
Kerry responded, "Remember my one about gays in the military? Remember my one about smoking pot? … Ask me any question you want to ask me, right now, and I'll give you a direct answer."
Sweet asked a question about education and mentioned his pending application to Boston University where he hopes to study, naturally, television.
Kerry outlined his education proposals and added, "And the final thing I'm going to do is, I'll make a phone call to (Boston University), if you're a good guy, and I'll help you get in."
At a stop in Rochester, New Hampshire, Kerry was asked about his BU pledge and once again repeated his offer. Why? Kerry replied, "Because it takes guts to stand up and ask a question like that."
And all we get for tough questions is a bad seat on the bus.
Still on the attack
Nov. 7 — For the second day in a row, Senator Kerry found himself in front of a New Hampshire symbol of justice talking guns and bashing nomination rival Howard Dean.
Speaking outside the Merrimack County Courthouse in Concord, Kerry went on a Jeff Foxworthy-esque riff, seeming to say you might be Governor Dean if …
" … you've changed your position on Social Security and you go on Tim Russert and you say you're not in favor, never were in favor of a 70 year age for retirement and then a week later you have to retract … "
" … you say you never supported cutting Medicare but then it's clear you did support Newt Gingrich's position … "
" … you go to the NAFTA signing, you thought it was that important to be there, that you wanted to be there to support NAFTA, and now you say NAFTA's wrong, etc … "
" … you say only three months ago that you think the Confederate flag is a states' rights issue, won't take a position on where it ought to fly, and then three months later you embrace it and now you say you're against it."
To all of these charges, the Senator offered a new to the Kerry camp but familiar to New Hampshire mantra: "That's not straight talk."
Kerry elaborated, "I think Americans deserve straight talk, I think they ought to know who Howard Dean is. And I think my record against his, I'm prepared to have it judged any day. I think the voters need to know, however, (Dean's candidacy) is a candidacy still in the making. This is a political personality and a belief system still in the making. What do you believe? What do you believe in life? Your political positions say something about what you believe."
And of the Confederate flag quote heard 'round the political world, Kerry did not appear as ready as fellow Senator John Edwards to forgive and forget; in prepared remarks, Kerry said, "It was not an effort to reach out, to have a dialogue about race, that brought this about. It was his effort to justify his appeal to the NRA for support. It was his effort to talk about why he thinks we need to reach out to people with guns. This is not straight talk when you stand up and try to translate your appeal to the NRA into some glorious effort to have a discussion of race relations in America."
In those same remarks, Kerry claimed Dean, in his 1992 NRA candidate questionnaire, failed to support the Brady Bill or a "waiting period," in addition to the candidates' well-known dispute over the assault weapons ban.
While it neither mentions the Brady Bill in particular nor federal law in general, it could be argued the meta-debate over the Brady Bill would have legitimately been on both the questioner and questionnaire taker's minds.
Kerry also had some tough words for the Dean camp's move to allow supporters to decide the candidate's federal funding fate: "Now he's planning to go outside the campaign finance reform. Where's the principle? I don't think that that's straight talk. I think that's, frankly, saying anything to get elected. And I think it's now doing anything to get elected."
Kerry retools stump approach
Nov. 6 — John Kerry never liked Howard Dean. More significantly, many argue, the Massachusetts Senator never took the former Vermont Governor very seriously.
As the presumed frontrunner toiled in the Washington summer diligently doing his day job and preparing for "the run," the upstart longshot hit the trail, creating indelible first impressions in Iowa and deftly navigating political cyberspace.
When Kerry officially started in September, he stumbled. Advisers came and went while Kerry vets dismissed rumors of a demise, saying, "It's early," or "People aren't paying attention yet," or best of all, "This always happens in a Kerry race."
Whatever the ailment, the cure for "Seabiscuit Kerry" was seemingly thwarted by "Dean, Dean, Dean."
But, just over a week ago in New Hampshire, something happened.
The thoughtful, esoteric Senator, often taken to quoting Benjamin Franklin and referencing Dante in the same speech, tried something new: a simplified stump centered on deriding special interests and undercutting Dean's policy positions.
From foreign policy to Medicare — and don't forget guns — Kerry attacked the policies, but not the person.
It seems, however, fresh from two down days nearly full of closed meetings in Beantown, Kerry may have decided to unleash a last-lap strategy of Weldian proportions upon the Governor.
Following a brief tour of the Manchester Police Department with newly re-elected Mayor Bob Baines, Kerry stoked the embers of the Confederate flag imbroglio, hitting chief rival Howard Dean hard over the former his non-apology apology.
Outside the station, Kerry said, "Well, it wasn't an apology, the Governor himself said it wasn't an apology. He simply said that he regrets that his words hurt somebody. Now if he acknowledges that his words hurt somebody, he ought to apologize."
Then Kerry took it up a notch: "The Governor moves faster in more different directions, tells more stories than anyone I've met in politics. This is not a straight talker; this is a guy looking for the new angle every time he can."
Kerry also took a solid swing at Dean over the Governor's announcement that he will leave the decision whether or not to accept public financing to his supporters. Laughing at the thought, Kerry charged, "It's one of the biggest set-ups I've ever seen. What he's really trying to do is find a way to weasel out of the agreement that he made."
As for Kerry's publicly financed future, he demurred, "I haven't made a decision but I haven't been two-faced about it. I just haven't made a decision, period."
At the cordial Planned Parenthood Forum on Womens' Issues in Manchester, New Hampshire, Kerry (along with the other candidates) pledged his support for abortion rights, committed to stem cell research, and promised to pursue and support numerous womens' right issues.
In response to a question on his "grade" as a father, the four-term Senator announced that in 17 years of service in the Senate, he didn't spend one weekend in Washington. Later in the forum, he cited Abigail Adams as his historical heroine. He described would-be first lady Teresa Heinz Kerry as "stunningly independent and thoughtful," expressing no doubt that she would fill the role with zeal.
During closing statements, however, the political pair that had played nice almost all evening cooled the temperature in the room filled with warm fuzzies (see above). Having mistakenly begun his closing statement out of candidate speaking order, Senator Kerry stopped after delivering his first line. When regular order resumed, Governor Dean, who was now up before Kerry, jokingly re-delivered Kerry's first line.
The exchange went as such:
Dean: "This is the most important election … " (laughter)
Kerry: "Go ahead. That's all right you've used everything else."
Dean: "We'll see whose name is on the copyright."
Kerry touts mystery poll lead
Nov. 5 — Senator Kerry arrived at 'Rock the Vote' to a throng of Beantown supporters chanting, "JK all the way" and jeering, "Howard the Coward" at the equally sized group of Dean enthusiasts gathered in front of Faneuil Hall.
Inside the historic hall, young questioner Sekou Diyday provided the opportunity that even sly political operatives couldn't: a fresh round of sharp criticism on guns and the Confederate flag aimed squarely at former Vermont Governor Howard Dean.
Though Kerry did not get in on the original nine-minute act, he made sure to revisit the subject again in the broadcast while spinsters provided a copy of the 1992 NRA questionnaire that started it all.
At one point during the debate, Kerry claimed, "I saw a poll the other day that had me 15 points ahead of (Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton)." This prompted Senator Joe Lieberman's camp and ABC News to ask, "What poll has John Kerry 15 points ahead of Hillary Clinton?"
Verbose campaign manager Jim Jordan offered dryly, "I honestly don't know."
Further inquiries by the Note resulted in much the same response; perhaps outgoing fax and e-mail lines were clogged with NRA questionnaires.
Kerry appeared briefly on CNN post-forum and, as is his custom, was the only candidate to skip the spin room.
Kerry wades through river and tough questions
Nov. 4 — Wrapping a four-day swing from central to southeastern Iowa, Senator Kerry bookended his day with events evoking personal heroes. In the rainy morning, the Senator pulled up his L.L. Bean bootstraps, still grimy with Iowa game, and took a brief tour along the banks of the mighty Mississippi.
Evoking, as he often does in stops far away from Ole Miss, the exploration of Lewis and Clark, Kerry stressed the need for a renewed commitment to environmental causes and clean water efforts. "George Bush is not funding water treatment. I want to get back into the business of helping local communities in living up to their responsibilities."
In that vein, Kerry pledged to aide Iowa Democratic Governor Tom Vilsack in his effort to clean up Iowa's rivers by 2010.
Later, introduced glowingly by Arab American Institute President Dr. James Zogby at the Cedar Rapids Islamic Center, Kerry delivered a generic appeal on civil and human rights, spiced with foreign policy, and tailored only slightly to emphasize Middle Eastern issues. Under schedule constraints, Kerry took three tough questions from the eager but skeptical crowd.
Merriam Amer of Marion, Iowa, asked in response to the Senator's presentation on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, "Forgive me for saying this, but we've heard this before … what are you talking about peace? We want justice for the Palestinian people."
Kerry calmly responded, "I think peace brings justice with it, don't you?"
After some more dissent and discussion, Kerry continued, "It's not our job to dictate. Our job is to help leverage (peace). Our job is to be a fair broker in helping bring about the climate for the peace."
Kerry finished the day with a visit to Cedar Rapids' John F. Kennedy High School, where he spoke in the round before a black box theatre capacity crowd of at least 500. In what quickly became a warm-up to tomorrow night's "Rock the Vote" event in Boston, Kerry littered his stump speech with President and Robert Kennedy references for the young, extra-credit earning crowd.
Kerry fires at pheasants and Dean
Nov. 3 — On a chilly Friday afternoon, Senator Kerry loaded his 12-gauge shotgun in search of Colo, Iowa's finest pheasants. But before the non-political hunt began, the candidate took aim at chief rival Howard Dean.
Kerry baited the former Vermont Governor, who received the endorsement of the NRA eight times, saying "Howard Dean needs to square his support for the NRA with his current position. You can't just flip a position in the year you decide to run for president and say, 'Here I am.'"
On the trail in Waverly, Iowa, Kerry added, "Evidently, Dean will say anything to get elected … (but) I'd rather be the candidate of the NAACP rather than the NRA."
Guns in their holsters, two words dominated the Senator's weekend: special interests.
Taking a page (or perhaps a chapter?) from the Edwards playbook, Senator Kerry continued to experiment with his newly simplified stump, most notably by repeatedly blaming non-specified "special interests" in Washington as the cause of all woes.
At a Marshalltown, Iowa, activist event, Kerry blasted rhetorically, "You know you don't have health care today? Do you know why you don't have funding for education? For superfund? For conservation farming? Because there are powerful interests in Washington and this President is in bed with them."
The theme continued throughout the weekend, often following the invocation of President Teddy Roosevelt and preceding a litany of Kerry accomplishments.
And, finally, at the Yen Hing Dragon — a place that has seen its share of great would-be presidential pronouncements — on Sunday in Waukon, Iowa, Kerry committed himself to holding a press conference a month "at a minimum." For the time being, however, the candidate pledges to continue to take questions with or without the presence of dim sum. Weather permitting, Kerry enjoys a walk along the banks of the mighty Mississippi Monday, including a clean water speech in Davenport, Iowa. Then it's onto Clinton and Cedar Rapids for activist events before departing Tuesday for the home field advantage CNN/Rock the Vote Forum in Boston.
On the Hunt
Oct. 31 — Senator Kerry cancelled his day in New Hampshire Thursday to be on hand for a vote on a Lieberman-sponsored climate change amendment to the president's Healthy Forests Initiative. Kerry supported his friend-cum-competitor's amendment which failed 43-55. Senator Edwards, though he could not have swayed the outcome, did not vote.
The Massachusetts Senator resumes full campaign mode today in Iowa where he begins the day with an agriculture conservation press conference and pheasant hunt. (Will he or won't he wear a classic orange hunting hat to BOTH events?) The only other public event on Kerry's Halloween plate is a meeting with Marshalltown Democrats prior to a night, one can only assume, of rampant trick or treating.
Kerry campaign deals with Miranda actions, accepts more New York support
Oct. 30 — Though Senator Kerry spent a relatively calm day signing books in Iowa, behind the scenes his campaign staff worked to beat back allegations in yesterday's Arizona Republic which contended that Mario Diaz, Senator Kerry's Arizona campaign manager, and state Representative Ben Miranda, also affiliated with the Kerry campaign, had been calling legislators to encourage them to switch support from Lieberman to Kerry because Lieberman "can't campaign three days a week."
Lieberman campaign manager Craig Smith reacted in a release, stating, "We were greatly disturbed by news reports [Wednesday] morning that John Kerry's campaign attempted to use Senator Lieberman's faith against him for political gain … If true, John Kerry should take swift action to rebuke these statements and disassociate himself from these individuals who have used these tactics on his behalf."
The Kerry camp responded, "The Kerry campaign (Wednesday) morning severed its association with Rep. Ben Miranda. We have investigated the matter thoroughly, and we are fully satisfied that no member of the campaign was responsible for the incidents in question."
Senator Lieberman and Senator Kerry discussed the potentially explosive accusations early Wednesday and both camps appear to be satisfied with the actions taken following that conversation.
As reported by the Note, Kerry also picked up two additional New York Congressional endorsements, one from Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, the other from Rep. Tim Bishop. On a conference call announcing the endorsements, McCarthy cited Kerry's gun safety record as her primary motivation for supporting him. When asked why McCarthy chose Kerry over former House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt, McCarthy blunted, "I have nothing but respect for Dick Gephardt … but at this point, I believe John Kerry can get his message out to a broader audience."
Bishop, who did not serve with Rep. Gephardt, identified with Kerry's environmental record, though he too expressed admiration for Gephardt.
Kerry gathers more New York support, tests new stump speech
Oct. 29 — ABC News has learned that Senator Kerry will pick up his fourth and fifth New York Congressional delegation endorsements today, getting the nod from Rep. Carolyn McCarthy and Rep. Tim Bishop.
This bring the Massachusetts Senator's Gotham tally to five and his congressional total to 19.
Tuesday in New Hampshire, Kerry chose East Kingston, New Hampshire, to unveil what may have the makings of a new stump strategy, affectionately Noted as the "KISS Dean Principle."
Step One: Keep It Simple Senator
In concise, crisp and clear remarks, Kerry breezed through his opening statement in under 10 minutes, a feat that normally takes at least twice that time. A seemingly energized candidate ditched his foreign policy strong suit and went straight for the populist throne citing Republican President Teddy Roosevelt, Tyco, the enivornment, and health care. Winding up a surprisingly short yarn, Kerry summed simply, "I have worked long and hard for an America that lives up to its responsibilities in the world."
Step Two: Attack Dean
Taking 17 questions in just over an hour and a half, the candidate would only be steered off topic by the larger subject at hand: Howard Dean.
Kerry slashed at Dean in no less than three new ways. Following up on a Detroit exchange regarding foreign policy advisers, Kerry snipped, "We're not hiring advisers, we're hiring a president. And we need one whose own gut, instinct, and knowledge tell him what to do."
Kerry questioned what would happen if Dean, who opposed the war in Iraq, were to win the Democratic nomination and prior to the general election WMDs were found: "What happens next year if we have a nominee that's been saying all the time, 'I told you all they had no WMDs?' … I had a knowledge and I would have done (Iraq) differently. And whatever crisis they drudge up next year, I believe I have the ability to right at 'em."
Kerry took on Dean's pledge to take Social Security and Medicare off the spending cuts table, pressing on all other entitlement programs such as veterans' benefits and Medicaid: "You deserve an honest answer in this race."
Finally, Kerry talked about gun control: "Governor Dean has been running around this country in certain states he believes it matters and has been bragging about his NRA endorsements. He's been endorsed more times in Vermont by the NRA than the NEA … that's straight talk to the nth degree."
The Senator did not, however, forget the man he longs to challenge, President George W. Bush. Concluded the marathon house party, Kerry quipped, "We've entrusted (President Bush) with the world and yet the world's waiting while the president is clearing brush."
Kerry taps Morehouse to head communications
Oct. 28 — On the day the Kerry campaign announced their new Director of Communications, Senator Kerry tried to play the part of Great Communicator. Mid-day, the word came that David Morehouse, who had been advising the Kerry campaign on a need-to basis, accepted the job left vacant by Chris Lehane last month. The planned schedule for the Senator, prior to the Morehouse news, included interviews with PBS's Charlie Rose and CNN's Aaron Brown. If your TiVo missed it, rest assured that the questions did not stray too far from foreign policy with a splash of Sunday night's debate topics stirred in.
Kerry campaign officials describe Morehouse as a no-frills operative who had been considered for the job for a while and turned down an offer from the Clark campaign to be communications director. It's no secret the Kerry campaign has had message problems, popularity problems, and consistency problems in both New Hampshire and Iowa. The campaign hopes Morehouse can do more than fill those holes.
"I look forward to working with John Kerry for whom I have a great deal of respect because of his record of taking on special interests, his service in combat to his country, and his commitment to stand up to George W. Bush," Morehouse told ABC News. "Translation for the highly sophisticated readers of the Note, I think my guy can beat Bush."
Morehouse, a former Gore aide and trip director who can be remembered as the butt of the occasional practical joke in 2000, will join the campaign full-time in about two weeks. Probably best remembered as the Gore staffer who ran into the holding room to start the ball rolling on a potential problem in Florida, Morehouse re-enters politics after two years at Harvard University working with government executives to establish academic programs.
Kerry also hit the Big Apple yesterday.
"It's the thing to do," a Kerry-goer said at the Barnes and Noble in Rockefeller Center in New York City on Monday. Writing books that is, it just seems like it's that time of year. (Kucinich has a book out next month, Dean in December and Edwards in January.) And this Barnes and Noble was locked down like it was hosting a sitting president. The Kerry book-signing had a Fort Knox atmosphere Monday afternoon, with lines zig-zagging around the perimeter and the B&N staff were equipped with walkie-talkies, head-sets, and attitudes that were quite suitable for a New York City event.
"A Call to Service," the $24.95/Viking published "Vision for the future of the United States" drew an extensive crowd in the middle of a city downpour.
The Chair of the House Democratic Task Force on Homeland Security endorsed Kerry Monday, giving the campaign its 17th Congressional endorsement. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), announced her support at a firehouse in New York's Upper East Side. The Senator loves to stump on how America deserves a president who isn't shutting down firehouses in the United States while building them in Iraq. He spoke these words Monday while standing in front of Ladder Company 44, a recently slated-to-be-closed firehouse in New York City? Kerry looked around at his smiling Big Apple supporters and thanked them, saying, "it almost makes up for what you did to the Red Sox."
(ABC News' Eva Price is substituting for Ed O'Keefe for a few days and she filed this report for Oct. 28.)
Kerry stumps in Michigan
Oct. 27 — Senator Kerry arrived in Detroit to a fan base similar to what he's used to in his travels throughout the Midwest. (The crowds in Iowa and Michigan are big!)
A pre-debate rally at nearby Comerica Park brought together a large and diverse group of urban Michiganites, party leaders, and popular state legislators including former Governor James Blanchard, who had to test his improv vamping skills as Mr. Kerry arrived a few painful minutes later than the Governor was prepared for.
Add to that nearly a dozen "Firefighters for Kerry" and a cast of 20 drummers from a nearby "drummer boy band," and you would think this accused "Northeast elitist" was married to a Ford heiress and not a Heinz. Speaking of, the Mrs. spent her day on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, talking to supporters about why her husband is the best man for the job.
(ABC News' Eva Price is substituting for Ed O'Keefe for a few days and she filed this report for Oct. 27.)
Kerry parties in Iowa with state senators
Oct. 24 — I'm halfway between puberty and paralysis, so I do what I do? Words to live by? Yes! And also a direct quote from "Red Henton," the minstrel who welcomed Maquoketah's (Iowa) Kerry supporters to the belated birthday party of Iowa State Senator Roger Stewart on Thursday.
A boisterous crowd gathered for the second time this month to honor both State and U.S. Senator; the latter had to cancel the original party 10 days ago in order to vote on the $87 billion package for Iraq. Stewart is one of more than a dozen and half state legislators backing Kerry in January's Caucus, say campaign officials.
But the crowd would have waited 100 days if it meant being near John Kerry for an hour, it seemed. In what campaign officials are calling a politically significant night, three other State Senators were on hand sounding the beat to a new drum of personal and political support that the Boston Brahmin is finally getting throughout the Hawkeye state.
Clearly feeling comfortable in an atmosphere full of admiration, Senator Kerry confidently shouted to the crowd, "Roger Stewart and his wife have a wonderful marriage … They're both in love with the same man!"
And to the tune of a '50s commercial jingle, Mr. Red Henton melodically ended the night … "In Montana, Illinois or up in Maine … doo doo doo … We're gonna sum it up … doo doo doo … or from any state you name … doo dooh … Pennsylvania or New Hampshire or from Frisco's Golden Gates … doo dooh … , Your average studs or dames … .he's gonna treat us all the same. Dooh..Dooh..he'll be a voice for us all right away, he'll be there for all of us … .. right … a … way … doo doo dooh!! "
The Kerry confidence quotient in Iowa seems to be rising. The Senator hit Dubuque, Iowa late at night for a private RON at the Dubuque Inn. And to the complete surprise of the Kerry Campaign, 50 activists and precinct workers greeted the tired Senator. Press Secretary David Wade said "it was very emotional. It fired up a tired candidate at the end of a long, long day."
A recent internal poll by the Mellman Group shows Kerry tied with Gephardt in Iowa at 21% and Dean just ahead of them both at 24%, with a 4% margin of error.
(ABC News' Eva Price is substituting for Ed O'Keefe for a few days and she filed this report for Oct. 24.)
Kerry defends Washington, bites back at Dean
Oct. 23 — "I'm sick of 'em dumping on Washington," the Senator proclaimed today after multiple hours of meet and greets with the multiple generations of "Iowans for Kerry."
What was clearly a slap on the Howard Dean wrist, this phrase nicely punctuated the Kerry campaign's earlier offering of "Governor Dean's Record on Factory Farms Is Wrong Solution For Iowa."
Iowa Kerry Campaign Director John Norris is quoted as saying, "Governor Dean failed to enforce a law designed specifically to regulate factory farms," referring to a time during Dean's administration when the Vermont governor invited a Canadian corporate egg producer to Vermont and then "failed to help dairy farmers deal with the waste the corporate operation created."
It was no coincidence these statements were provided to the press just as Dean's campaigning began focusing on the "evils of factory farms" elsewhere in the state.
In other news, over sandwiches and soda in a crowded dining hall, the Senator promised loan-strapped University of Iowa students that when he's President, life will be different. He listened to the horror stories of the financial burdens, extra jobs, and worrisome loans these undergrad and graduate students face each year, promising them life will be different under the Kerry presidency. LINK
Kerry Clarifies Hardball Pitches
Oct. 22 —Fresh from Hardball, Sen. John Kerry had a soft day of campaigning in New Hampshire.
The only glimmer of news came when the senator responded to clarification questions regarding the previous night's proposition that France and Russia were ready to deal at the time President Bush halted Iraq negotiations at the U.N.
Prior to Kerry's squirrel-less flight (http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/national/AP-Air-Politics.html">LINK) back to Washington, the junior senator from Massachusetts toured National Aperature, taking the opportunity to crack rivals Dean & Gephardt's positions on manufacturing and trade.
Calling Dean's plan for the restoration of manufacturing jobs "very, very vague" and Gephardt himself a "protectionist" with "a very old approach," Kerry summarized, "I think the American people want more than platitudes. I think the American people want more than old politics. I think they want and deserve specific plans for the future."
Following his time in Salem, Kerry spent some quality time with the honorable mayor of Manchester, Robert Baines. Touring the mayor's office, a local Harley shop, the Elm Street UPS Store, several other shops, and, naturally, the Merrimack Restaurant, Kerry shook some hands while folks snapped pictures or ruminated over their "ruined lunch."
Kerry Says His Campaigning Will Be ‘National’
Oct. 21 — After his round on the WMUR & Every Child Matters Education Fund-sponsored forum Monday, Senator John F. Kerry faced a gaggle of local and national press eagerly seeking reaction to Lieberman and Clark's decision to leave Iowa behind.
"I don't think we should pick and choose … I'm trying to run a national campaign," Kerry said. "I think it's vital, if you're trying to be president, that you run in all the states. I'm running a national campaign and I don't think people want you to pick and choose."
Kerry then moved to the University of New Hampshire's leaf-dotted lawn to unveil an environmental plan pledging to "leverage Superfund cleanup dollars," creating toxic tax forces at the EPA, rolling back the Bush administration Clean Air, and forming a "Conservation Covenant."
Kerry Decides Against $87 Billion
Oct. 20 — Senator Kerry announced via Web and written statement that he intends to vote "no" on the Iraq Supplemental bill currently pending before the Senate.
Kerry had been weighing his options in the last few weeks, prefering to see how several Democratic amendments faired before deciding his final vote.
In his Web statement, he stated, "I intend to vote against the $87 billion the president has requested because he hasn't put forward an adequate plan to be able to properly protect those troops, to be able to bring other nations to our side …"