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Convention Wrap

white house washington, dc
AP
Dotty Lynch, Beth Lester, Clothilde Ewing, Lauren Glasser and Allen Alter from the CBS News Political and Campaign '04 Units have the latest political news from Washington and from the trail:


Tuesday's Headlines
  • Big Convention Announcements Today
  • Bush Talks To The Vets
  • The Governator
  • NYC: Battleground For A Week
  • Dick Cheney Seen But Not heard
  • Edwards Sees Live People
  • Kerry Leaves the Beach Briefly

    Two Convention Surprises: On Tuesday GOP officials announced that Barbara and Jenna Bush, the president's 22-year-old twin daughters, would introduce their father (who will be at a softball game in Gettysburg) who will then introduce Laura Bush, who speaks on Tuesday night.

    They will speak about five minutes, said Susan Whitson, deputy communications director for the Bush campaign. "I think you'll see a very personal side to their remarks, a little bit of humor," she said, according to the AP.

    Republicans also added to the convention schedule retired Gen. Tommy Franks, former commander of forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, who will speak on Thursday night along with the president. As you may recall, Franks made news a couple of weeks ago when he was asked on ABC's "This Week" if Kerry is fit to be commander in chief, "Absolutely." He replied. Franks also said of Kerry: "This man is a patriot."

    Bush Talks to the Vets: President Bush may be the only Republican NOT in New York. On Tuesday he hits two more battleground states and speaks to the American Legion convention. CBS News' Mark Knoller is with him.

    Knoller Nugget: Day two of the Republican National Convention finds its nominee campaigning in Tennessee, Iowa and Pennsylvania.

    In Nashville, Mr. Bush addresses the American Legion National Convention Tuesday. It's a natural forum in which the president can portray himself as the best friend of veterans. A White House spokesman says Mr. Bush will also discuss the war on terrorism.

    On that issue, he made no effort Monday to clarify his remark in a "Today Show" interview that the war on terror cannot be won — even though he has said many times in the past that the U.S. and its allies would win it.

    He left it to his spokesman to clarify that Mr. Bush meant it's a different kind of war against an unconventional enemy. Press Secretary Scott McClellan said America should not expect a treaty to be signed or a formal surrender, as in other wars.

    But in his stump speech Monday in Taylor, Michigan, Mr. Bush again said the US would "prevail" in the war on terror.

    Farming for Votes: Hoping to harvest support from American agriculture, Mr. Bush is also reaching out to the farm vote. On a farm in Alleman, Iowa, later Tuesday, he'll address the 2004 Farm Progress Show.

    The president ends the day in Pennsylvania, attending what the White House bills as a "family-style picnic." It'll be after midnight when he returns to Washington.

    Bo Knows Michigan: How will Michigan vote in November? President Bush no longer needs pollsters in the state. He's got Bo.

    Bo Schembechler, the former University of Michigan football coach.

    "You know something," Mr. Bush told a rally Monday evening in Taylor, Michigan. "Bo knows Michigan and he just told me we're going to carry this state, and I agree."

    Mr. Bush tried to score a political touchdown on the football issue.

    He said John Kerry was campaigning in Ohio a few weeks back and said there's nothing better than Buckeye football. But in Michigan, the president said Kerry called the University of Michigan a powerhouse team.

    "You see," said Mr. Bush. "I'm running against a fellow who is a Washington politician who has taken both sides of just about every issue. And now we can add Big Ten football to that list."

    On a more serious note, the president also accused Kerry of backing "arbitrary and unfair fuel standards" for cars that could cost thousands of automobile workers their jobs.

    In an unabashed bid for the votes of the auto industry, Mr. Bush said he supports "wise fuel efficiency standards."

    Line of the Day: During the Q&A portion of his "Ask President Bush" event Monday in Nashua, N.H., he called on a woman who admitted she was nervous but would try to be sophisticated.

    Not for long.

    She told Mr. Bush that it was an honor to meet him — but then blurted out "New Hampshire chicks love you! I got to say that," she added.

    "Okay," said President Bush. "So far you haven't acted very sophisticated."

    The Governator: Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of the most anticipated speakers of the Republican Party's Convention, is set to hit the stage Tuesday night amid complaints from Democrats and some Republicans that his politics don't reflect the party at large.

    Schwarzenegger is notably at odds with the president on several high-profile issues. In fact, he has no objections to civil unions or stem-cell research and he favors certain gun control measures, and he supports abortion.

    But the Los Angeles Times reports that some Republicans have indicated that "many of his more centrist views on social issues have been drowned out by the gun-toting images from his movies."

    For example there's Hoaihuong Thi "Tee" Quinn, who said she sees political messages in his choice of movies. "Twins," the story of two brothers who result from a scientific experiment gone wrong, has an antiabortion message, she said.

    "I've seen his movies. I listen to him on talk shows. I heard him talk about girlie men. That is conservative," said Quinn, a 45-year-old Vietnamese immigrant who would like to see the Constitution changed so that the Austrian native would have a shot at the presidency.

    Meanwhile, the Washington Times reports: "The Bush-Cheney campaign, which has courted its conservative base in the past few months, is cognizant of the governor's appeal to moderates ... But one senior Republican with ties to the White House said it is no secret that the Bush campaign is seeking voters whose views are more centrist and who might be weighing whether to support President Bush's reelection bid.

    Schwarzenegger's speech on Tuesday will provide him, for the first time since he took office, an opportunity to speak to a national television audience from a purely political platform. Schwarzenegger's aides say he plans to use the his 15-20 minute speech to not only endorse Mr. Bush's reelection, but to focus on his journey that took him from as an immigrant from Austria to a Republican governor of California.

    Politically, Schwarzenegger is walking a tightrope: playing the loyal Republican without appearing too chummy with a president who has low approval ratings in California. Schwarzenegger might leave New York before Mr. Bush's speech on Thursday, but not because he fears he will detract from the president, but because the California state legislature just adjourned after putting 1,000 bills onto the governor's desk.

    Mrs. Arnold, aka, Maria Shriver and their children are expected to watch the speech from the gallery.

    New York Becomes A Battleground: Much has been made of campaigns ignoring the non-battleground states, but this week Republicans are dominating the free media in New York and the airwaves are also filled with Democratic political ads. One suspects the point is not to reach the voters who gave Al Gore 78 percent of their votes in 2000 but the thousands of reporters covering the GOP.

    The Democratic National Committee released its fourth New York-only ad on Tuesday morning. The theme of the day, "Mission Not Accomplished: Compassion," will be aided by a visual: DNC unfurled a huge banner reading Mission Not Accomplished on Monday, cleverly situated within the line of site of delegates as they enter Madison Square Garden starting Tuesday morning.

    The Kerry-Edwards team is also planning to make news if it can. Bucking the stay-down tradition, John Edwards will do a front porch event in Beckley, W.Va., and "pivot off" President Bush's attacks, according to Kerry strategist Tad Devine. And Tuesday night in Nashville, Kerry is scheduled to make remarks focused on asking "why the president thinks we can't win the war on terror." The rally is supposed to take place at 10:45 p.m., right during convention prime time, but Kerry will — if history is any guide — probably be late.

    The other message of the day from KE04 is that the Republican convention message is backfiring with swing voters. Bush-Cheney thinks that Dems really whiffed with their convention. Not surprisingly, the Kerry team dismisses criticism of its convention and instead is trying to turn the tables. Mike Donilon tells CBS News the "incessantly negative attacks" are "less appealing to swing voters." And Kerry adviser Mark Mellman thinks that the perceived attacks will be "profoundly alienating to swing voters" and that Bush-Cheney will "pay a price." Left out of the KE line is the possibility — acknowledged by BC staffers — that the Republicans are just as concerned about reaching their base as they are about getting swing voters. Stay tuned.

    Dick Cheney Seen But Not heard: Vice President Cheney has been all over New York this week but he's waiting for Wednesday night to make major remarks. On Monday night he was the target of a protester who got near his box at MSG which CBS News' Josh Gross was the first to report. Gross was all over New York on Monday as well:

    Trail Byte: If you watch the convention coverage this week you'll no doubt see plenty of Vice President Cheney, as he will be in Madison Square Garden each night. But don't be surprised if you don't actually hear from him until he takes the stage on Wednesday night to deliver his address.

    Besides his event on Ellis Island on Sunday and a dinner speech on Thursday, the vice president has no public speaking events for the five days he's in New York. He'll spend the week preparing for Wednesday and meeting privately with supporters. But that doesn't mean that all the Cheneys are keeping quiet.

    At a "W Stands for Women" event on Monday, the vice president's wife Lynne and daughter Liz joined several ranking women in President Bush's family in a series of speeches and policy discussions relating to women's issues and rights throughout the world.

    Both Lynne and Liz have prominent roles in the vice president's campaign for reelection this summer. Liz has introduced both her parents at several events and is often seen wrangling her own young daughters, especially if they have joined their grandparents on stage.

    But the event on Monday was for grownups only. The Cheneys sat across the stage from former First Lady Barbara Bush and the president's sister Doro Bush Koch. Mr. Bush's twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, were also on stage but did speak.

    Liz Cheney thanked the Bush family for all their hard work both for the country and especially for the president. "I believe that President Bush has done and is doing more to empower women all across the world and in our very own country than any other American president," she said.

    Lynne Cheney's speech was similar in message and tone to those she gives when introducing her husband on the campaign trail. The president's action and policies have made the world safer and a much better safer for women and children.

    But it wasn't all seriousness. The president's mother, Barbara, treated the audience to stories about her husband George H.W. Bush and their recent trip to the Olympics, saying he was upset that skydiving was not an event and she wouldn't let him demonstrate his strength to the weightlifting team.

    She also took some shots at her granddaughters' reputation as party girls. Referring to daughter-in-law Laura, she said, "She seems to manage everything and everybody, including her husband and her mother-in-law, with grace and style and humor."

    Then she pointed to the twins. "She hasn't quite made it yet with two you-know-who's over here."

    Edwards Sees Live People: John Edwards continues to act as if there was no moratorium this week on Democrats in politics. He's out swinging away and making some news. CBS News' Bonney Kapp reports:

    Trail Byte: John Edwards did not sit on the sidelines on the opening day of the Republican National Convention. Instead the senator gave a major policy speech Monday focusing on national security and foreign relations to an auditorium filled with supporters at UNC-Wilmington and dozens of reporters and television cameras.

    "I know that there are some Americans who question whether there are differences between us and our opponents," Edwards began. Over the course of his 35-minute speech, the candidate cited 12 examples of differences between Bush/Cheney and Kerry/Edwards on foreign policy, dotting his speech with some variation of "This is what we will do, this is what they can't do and that is a difference."

    The senator then spent about an hour doing local news interviews and then granted rare network interviews with each of the national media represented on the campaign plane — almost guaranteeing an Edwards sound bite on the evening news broadcasts.

    "I think it's an important time for people to see the differences; we're going to get a lot of happy rhetoric at the Republican Convention this week, but the truth is, this administration has a record," Edwards told CBS News, continuing with a laundry list of the Bush administration's perceived failures.

    The candidate then headed to West Virginia, where he dropped by Tamarack, an arts and crafts center in Beckley. Edwards shook some hands, watched artisans at work, and bought some lunch (fried green tomato sandwich and peaches, but it's not clear that the senator actually indulged as he got it to go and the same food was spotted later at the hotel with an aide).

    Edwards later took his staff to dinner at the Outback Steakhouse next door — his traveling press chose the Applebee's across the parking lot. When alerted to the media's location, the candidate and his Secret Service detail made an unscheduled stop to say hello, and greet a few locals at the bar. Most were appreciative, though not all. One Bush supporter with a beer in his hand was overheard saying to his buddies, "I thought John Edwards was the guy who talked to dead people." (John Edward is a self-described psychic on television.)

    Edwards holds a front porch visit in Beckley Tuesday, where he is expected to talk about President Bush's "miscalculations" on the economy.

    Kerry Leaves the Beach Briefly: Sen. Kerry interrupts his week in Nantucket for a trip to Nashville where he will follow President Bush at the American Legion convention. CBS News' Steve Chaggaris reports:

    Trail Byte: John Kerry's last chance at vacation is actually turning into more work than play, especially with a new change in his schedule which actually cuts his time off a bit early.

    The campaign announced that Kerry and his wife Teresa will leave Nantucket on Thursday night instead of Friday to attend a midnight post-Republican convention rally in Ohio with the Edwards, then they'll all split up to campaign through the weekend and next week.

    Meanwhile, between meetings with campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill (described as meetings about the debates and the campaign's fall plans), Kerry went windsurfing for the second day in a row but had a little trouble on the choppy water.

    During the hour he was out, Kerry fell twice before switching sails and finally getting into a groove. Later he described the conditions as "too erratic" and "too up-and-down."

    Kerry is expected to lay low Tuesday, as heavy rain is predicted for Nantucket, before flying to Nashville to be in place for his speech to the American Legion's convention Wednesday. If his schedule doesn't slip, he will make remarks upon his arrival in Nashville at 10:45 p.m.

    And speaking of the convention, even with good friend John McCain speaking, John Kerry did not watch the opening night, a campaign aide tells CBS News.

    Quote of the Day: "Maybe this explains John Kerry's need for two Americas. One where John Kerry can vote for something, and one where he can vote exactly the opposite," Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaking to the Republican Convention.