John Kerry on the Campaign Trail

At Sister Sarah's Restaurant in Algona, Iowa, shortly before the turn of the New Year, Kerry railed, "I can't tell you, I mean, you can go to Teterboro airport in New Jersey on a Friday night, and watch a whole bunch of corporate executives getting into corporate jets, flying to their corporate-paid-for homes, who are going to play golf at corporate paid-for-golf club memberships, after they've been to the theater at corporate-paid-for tickets, all of which (is tax) deducted, all of which you're paying for."

Summarizing his lengthy riff, the Senator concluded, "There's too much money loose in the American political system."

But as Gotham's night lights began to glow, Teterboro airport represented something much less rotten to the Kerry campaign.

At a gathering of the Senator's national fundraising team, his New York heavies announced they raked in over $750,000 mostly post-Iowa dollars — an amazing figure, considering only five weeks ago an anonymous fundraiser confessed to Patrick Healy of the Boston Globe , "I'm dying out there. There was so much excitement about John Kerry early on, and now there's none."

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and former State Comptroller H. Carl McCall joined uber-fundraisers including Steven Rattner and Orin Kramer for a buffet of pasta, roast sirloin and green … vegetables.

And many of the 70-some guests sported a new fashion trend: round blue buttons with white script reading "4JKB4IA" which translated from DMVanese means "For John Kerry Before Iowa."

The Kerry campaign also announced they have raised $5 million since the first of the year, with all but $500,000 of that figure pouring in post-Iowa. In other words, Kerry's coffers have filled at a clip of $1.5 million per week since earning the first-place caucus crown.

On Thursday, Kerry also greeted the prominent endorsements of Michigan Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow and, from his hospital bed in which he's suffering from a recently broken rib, Maine's Gov. John Baldacci.

Most significantly, on Friday, the Senator's one-time nomination rival Rep. Dick Gephardt will endorse Kerry in Warren, Mich. Given Dean's perceived retreat from Michigan and the labor union-cueing endorsement from Gephardt, the Kerry campaign will spend only one day in Michigan before turning their focus to Virginia and Tennessee.

In those Tuesday contest states, Kerry will attempt to accomplish the one task that has thus far eluded him in the nomination process: win in the south.

Of his chief competition in the region, Senator Edwards, former Gephardt campaign manager and newly acquired Kerry guru Steve Elmendorf poked, "(Edwards) hasn't moved beyond a regional candidate. If he were a national candidate, he'd be in Maine or Washington competing. He won South Carolina (because) he focused an incredible amount of attention on it."

Kerry continues to rotate two veterans-oriented ads in Virginia (including Washington, D.C. stations) and Tennessee. There are no plans to go on the air in Michigan, Washington, or Maine, while Wisconsin seems less a question of if but when.

Surge Protector

SEATTLE, Feb. 3 — Sen. John Kerry sat before a live camera in the Grand Ballroom of the Sheraton Hotel & Towers commenting on the third consecutive Democratic nomination victory party that lived up to its name.

"I'm going to continue to march toward the nomination and toward defeating George W. Bush," an admittedly tired Kerry told ABC News' Ted Koppel.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...