Dick Gephardt on the Campaign Trail

ABCNEWS' Sally Hawkins is on the road with the former House Democratic leader in his quest for the White House. For the latest report, scroll down.

Out of public eye, aiming to be in the money

Nov. 11 — Continuing his nine-day fundraising blitz covering six states and multiple cities per day, Congressman Gephardt visited New York City on Monday, the fifth day of his tireless-tally-it-up-tour. Since last Wednesday, Gephardt has had only one public event. With such a grueling fundraising schedule, you can bet he'll be happy to get back on the campaign trail in Iowa this Saturday.

The money will come in handy later this week when he opens a campaign office in Arizona, and when the campaign settles on real estate down the road in New Mexico.

Gephardt pounced on an opportunity to slam President Bush today, jabbing at the president's statements on the economy as he toured a BMW plant in South Carolina, a state where Gephardt recently visited counties with unemployment rates upwards of 20 percent.

"During the last year, under President Bush's failed economic policies, South Carolina has been hit by the largest per capita job loss in the country. The state's economy has been devastated by bad trade agreements like NAFTA and the China trade deal that President Bush and many of my opponents in this race have supported. Instead of traveling to a thriving BMW plant, the president should visit the shuttered textile mills and factories that have been forced to close their doors and lay off thousands of workers because of these bad trade agreements. While the president is in South Carolina today, he should explain what he is going to do to bring these 74,000 jobs back."

Gephardt rides high on Iowa lead

Nov. 10 — Still smarting from last week's news of union endorsements for Howard Dean, the Gephardt campaign was on a rollercoaster ride this weekend: first with Dean's public financing decision, then with a Des Moines Register poll showing Gephardt gaining ground and Dean dropping in Iowa.

In response to Dean's decision to forgo public financing, Gephardt told ABC News, "I think it's unfortunate. George Bush has done this; now Howard is doing it. Howard said he wouldn't break the caps and now he's breaking the caps. He can disguise it with a poll but I really think it's bad for the system. We have this system in place and the caps — and all that we've done to try to contain finance spending is being blown apart."

The Sunday poll, however, brought relief, showing Gephardt with a 7-point lead over Dean in Iowa among likely caucus-goers. Taken last week, the survey could reflect some backlash among Iowans upset by the Confederate flag flap, but it was also taken prior to the news that Dean will soon be adding thousands more AFSCME and SEIU foot soldiers to rally support for him on caucus night. While Gephardt frequently jokes to his over-65 supporters at Iowa campaign stops that "January 19th will be a warm and balmy evening," the poll also shows how important it will be for the Gephardt camp to get those folks out, come balmy evening or blizzard.

More potential good news: the United Auto Workers announced they are releasing their locals to endorse the candidate of their choice. The UAW has a huge membership base in Iowa and Michigan, and some Gephardt staffers feel confident that key UAWs will be theirs.

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