Dog days of summer
Which way to the state fair?
By Tory Flowers and Robert Yoon
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Welcome to This Week in Politics, the CNN Political Unit's weekly look at the key developments you can expect on the political horizon. With the help of sources across the country, we'll bring you the latest scoop on all the big political stories: the battle for Congress, the race for the White House in 2004 and much more.
There's no sense in frittering away your summer vacation, especially if you've got an eye on the White House in 2004. This week, the major Democrats who see presidential timber every morning in the bathroom mirror continue to woo the good folks of Iowa and New Hampshire.
Howard Dean, John Kerry, and Joe Lieberman will spend some quality time building good will in the Granite state, while John Edwards, Dick Gephardt, and Lieberman will be hitting the state fair circuit in Iowa. In fact, Sen. Edwards will be pressing the Democratic flesh at two state fairs this week: Iowa and Illinois.
On the Republican side, Vice President Dick Cheney, who recently said he'd be game for another go at the No. 2 job, is back on the campaign trail, this time in Montana for a U.S. Senate candidate.
The president and the first lady also are making the rounds this week, with Laura Bush stumping for her fellow-Texan John Cornyn's Senate bid, and the president visiting his favorite South Dakotan John Thune on an official visit. Thune, by sheer coincidence, is locked in one of the tightest Senate races in the nation. Thune's opponent, Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson, and Bush's least favorite South Dakotan, Tom Daschle, also are invited. So, we're sure that politics plays no part in this trip.
Of course, not everyone's mind is on 2004.
The Democratic National Committee, meeting this weekend in Las Vegas, announced that it's focusing on 2002, particularly on winning back the House and keeping control of the Senate. How, you ask? To answer this question, the DNC trotted out famed Mexican-American actress Lynda Carter -- TV's "Wonder Woman" -- to unveil the key to success this November: the Hispanic vote. (Yes, Lynda Carter is a famed Mexican-American actress.)
In other campaign news, there will be at least four campaign buses roaming the countryside (Georgia's Bob Barr, Minnesota's Tim Penny, Missouri's Jean Carnahan and South Dakota's Thune.) Yet, unlike last week, not a single one is headed to Canada to buy prescription drugs.
And celebrating birthday's this week: Social Security turns 67, and Mount Rushmore turns 70. As Willard Scott might tell you, Social Security likes to work on its garden and talk on the phone with friends. Mount Rushmore is still an avid golfer and still does its own grocery shopping.
It's amazing what you find interesting in a slow-as-molassas August in Washington.
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VACATIONS! Al Gore's going on vacation for two weeks. Location TBA. Sen. John McCain is kicking back at his home in picturesque Sedona, Arizona, this week. Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Mitt Romney is also taking time off from the campaign trail. Vermont Gov. Howard Dean vacations at home in Vermont.
Daschle Goes West. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, is on a West Coast swing this week. He'll be in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and Las Vegas fund-raising for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and his re-election committee, "A lot of people supporting Tom Daschle." Yes, that's the real name of his re-election committee.
Mr. Edwards Goes to Washington (state): Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, addresses Washington State Democrats at their annual Warren G. Magnuson awards dinner in Seattle.
Helms and Dole. Sen. Jesse Helms, R-North Carolina, headlines a fund-raiser for Elizabeth Dole, who leads the GOP field in the race to succeed the five-term senator. Former Sen. Lauch Faircloth, who served with Helms as the state's junior senator for six years, also is expected at the event on Harkers Island, North Carolina. This is the first political event Sen. Helms has attended since undergoing surgery in April.
This Bus Leans to the Right. Rep. Bob Barr, who faces a tough primary race on August 20 against his fellow GOP Rep. John Linder, will tout his conservative credentials in a bus tour with about a dozen prominent conservatives, including radio talk show host G. Gordon Liddy, tax reform advocate and Reagan enthusiast Grover Norquist, and NRA executive VP Wayne LaPierre. (Insert your own Bob Barr gun reference here). Barr and friends will hit six political rallies and a mid-day barbecue. The Barr-Linder primary is on August 20.
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Maryland's Democratic nominee for governor, spends the day campaigning on a trolley in Baltimore.
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Kerry in NH. Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, campaigning hard for a Senate reelection bid where he has no opponents, will make another swing through New Hampshire stumping for votes, although none for himself (not yet anyway). The prospective 2004 presidential hopeful has several events scheduled with local Democrats. He'll address the Cheshire County Democrats in Keene, raise campaign cash for a state senate candidate in Hopkinton, and then eat barbecue with local party activists and volunteers in the home of a supporter in Londonderry. The senator will also attend a meet-and-greet with veterans in Manchester.
Dominican Day Parade. All three candidates for New York governor will be at the Dominican Day Parade in Manhattan today: Gov. George Pataki (R), Carl McCall (D) and Andrew Cuomo (D). Pataki will then walk the Coney Island Boardwalk and attend the Myrtle Avenue Summer Street Festival in Queens. Look for the governor in upstate New York later in the week.
Linder in Pickneyville. Rep. John Linder, R-Georgia, holds a rally and barbecue in Pickneyville for an expected crowd of 150 supporters.
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Smith vs. Sununu. New Hampshire Sen. Bob Smith (R) will face-off in the first televised debate tonight with his primary opponent Rep. John Sununu (R). WNDS hosts the debate in Derry, New Hampshire. Candidates will take questions from a pre-selected audience of independent and undecided voters.
Shaheen and Seniors. New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D) will be talking with seniors today and tomorrow. In Exeter, she will address the issue of Social Security and the "dangers of privatization." On Tuesday, she has a press conference on Social Security.
Harkin and Ganske. Sen. Tom Harkin (D) and Rep. Greg Ganske (R) are crisscrossing the first in the nation caucus state this week. On Monday, Harkin will be in Fort Dodge and Sioux City; Ganske will be doing town halls in Cedar Rapids and Davenport. On Tuesday, Harkin will be in Omaha, Council Bluffs and Grinnell; Ganske will be in Muscatine, Burlington and Fairfield. On Wednesday, Harkin will be hanging out with AFL-CIO President John Sweeney (see note below).
Another Bus Tour. Missouri Sen. Jean Carnahan (D) will start a four-day bus tour today in St. Louis. She'll hit Cape Girardeau County, Chillicothe, Columbia, Harrisonville, Joplin, Kansas City, Kirksville, Poplar Bluff, Sedalia, Sikeston, St. Louis, Springfield and end in Hannibal on Thursday. Her opponent, former Rep. Jim Talent (R), will continue to push his "Missouri First Jobs Initiative" to help "create jobs, assist small businessmen and women and hold corporate CEOs accountable for their misdeeds." Talent has said that he would have taken the corporate responsibility bill that passed the Republican House one step further. Regarding Carnahan's bus tour, Talent's campaign was quick to point out that their candidate has logged more than 47,000 miles through the state and more than 40 counties.
Erskine Bowles, D-North Carolina, addresses the Wake County Democratic Men's group.
A Vinyl Wrapped Bus. Former Rep. Tim Penny, an Independent candidate for Minnesota governor, will launch his "Common Sense Express" bus tour today. The bus will be wrapped in vinyl so that people can sign the bus, billed as a symbol of "Petition for Penny Principles." Gov. Jesse Ventura (I-Minnesota) will also be there to sign the bus. Where are they going on the bus? First stop: Independence, Minnesota. How appropriate.
"Investor Summit." Carl McCall, Democrat running for New York Governor and Eliot Spitzer, the New York Attorney General are holding an investor protection conference with treasurers and comptrollers from around the country. The group will be talking recommendations for national laws on corporate responsibility.
Jeb and Hispanics. Last Friday, Florida's Gov. Jeb Bush (R) was shooting a commercial at a Cuban bakery. Today, he's having breakfast with Hispanic pastors in Orlando and a meeting with Colombian Americans in Miami. Almost 17 percent of Florida's population is Hispanic.
Ehrlich in the 'burbs. Rep. Robert Ehrlich, Maryland's GOP nominee for governor, meets with the Montgomery County Realtors Association in Rockville. Montgomery County is a heavily Democratic suburb of Washington, where Ehrlich will need to peel away crossover voters if he hopes to win in November.
Reich on Healthcare. Robert Reich, Democrat for Massachusetts governor will deliver a "major policy address" on healthcare. The theme "Better Care, For More People, At Lower Cost." The speech was scheduled for last Thursday but was rescheduled due to illness.
Watts and Redskins. Blue 14, hut, hut, hut. He's no Patrick Ramsey -- the rookie who just signed with the Washington Redskins -- but Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts (R) is suiting up to practice with Ramsey's major league football team today. Watts was quarterback for the Sooners and an Orange Bowl Hall of Famer. He's practicing with the team at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
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Colorado primary. There are two statewide races in Colorado this year, but neither race has a competitive primary. In the Senate race, neither Sen. Wayne Allard, R, nor his Democratic challenger Tom Strickland has a primary challenge. Allard will spend primary day visiting with Jeff Bedingfield and Marilyn Musgrave, two GOP candidates vying for the House seat he once occupied. Strickland will hold a general election kick-off party at the Oxford Hotel in Denver. In the gubernatorial contest, GOP Gov. Bill Owens and Democratic challenger Rollie Heath are unopposed in their races.
Bush Economic Summit. President Bush will hold an economic forum in Waco, TX with business and union leaders to discuss ways to boost the economy. Look for 2004 Democratic reaction.
Corporate Responsibility Dole Style. U.S. Senate hopeful Elizabeth Dole unveils a policy proposal on corporate responsibility at a telephone only news conference in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Bowles at UNC. Erskine Bowles, who leads the Democratic field in the U.S. Senate race, holds a fund-raiser with Dean Smith, the revered former head coach of the multi-championship UNC-Chapel Tarheels basketball team. Smith is an old Bowles family friend. According to the campaign, Erskine's dad, Hargrove "Skipper" Bowles, the 1972 Democratic nominee for governor, helped secure funding for UNC's "Dean Dome," which is a basketball's throw from Skipper Bowles Ave. The $100-per-person event will be held at the Carolina Inn. Bowles and his daughter are both UNC alums.
From an Undisclosed Location in Billings. Vice President Dick Cheney is expected to head to Billings, Montana, to campaign and fundraise for state Sen. Mike Taylor, the GOP nominee to challenge Democratic Sen. Max Baucus. The Taylor campaign won't confirm the event, and has referred inquires to the Vice President's office, which, not surprisingly, also won't confirm the event. But local media outlets are busy staking out possible undisclosed locations.
Billings Again? While Mike Taylor and Vice President Cheney hit the stump, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, is also in Billings, Montana, helping out her Democratic Senate colleague Max Baucus, Taylor's opponent. The senators will hold a seniors forum in Billings on a Medicare prescription drug benefit. Stabenow will also headline a Baucus fund-raiser.
Wellstone and Business. That's right -- Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minnesota, is bringing in pro-business Democrat Sen. Joe Lieberman to launch "Business Leaders for Wellstone." The liberal 2-term senator is not someone you'd normally associate with "business leaders, but Wellstone is reaching out to a new group of voters in his tough re-election battle with former St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman. Lieberman will also get a fund-raiser in for his own PAC, called "ROCPAC."
DNC vs. RNC. It's been talked about as the most anticipated softball game of the year. Tonight, the Democratic National Committee's team faces off against Republican National Committee's team. Question is will RNC Chair Marc Racicot pitch?
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Wooing the Funnel Cake Vote, Part I (The Iowa State Fair). Not only will President Bush will be there, but two Democrats who want his job will be shaking voters' hands, as well. Look for Rep. Dick Gephardt and Sen. Joe Lieberman at the fair today. They're both in Iowa fund raising for various Iowa Democratic candidates today and tomorrow. Rep. Nancy Pelosi will also be in Iowa raising funds for candidates. The list of beneficiaries includes Gov. Tom Vilsack, Sen. Tom Harkin, Rep. Leonard Boswell, Julie Thomas, John Norris and Anne Hutchinson.
Laura Bush Fund Raising on the Trail. First Lady and Texas native Laura Bush headlines a fund-raiser for GOP Senate nominee John Cornyn at the Four Seasons in Austin. Individual tickets are $250, or you can buy a table for $2500. A photo with the First Lady will set you back $5000. Cornyn spokesman David Beckwith didn't have an estimated take for the night, but he said it would be "substantial. Obviously, the First Lady is very popular in Texas."
Allard and crew. Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colorado, chaperones a unity tour with 4th congressional candidates Jeff Bedingfield and Marilyn Musgrave, who went head-to-head in Tuesday's GOP primary for Allard's old House seat.
Mitchell and Pingree. Former Senator George Mitchell, D-Maine, headlines a fund-raiser for Maine's Democratic Senate nominee Chellie Pingree.
Bowles Social Security Plan. Erskine Bowles, D-North Carolina, throws a 67th birthday party for Social Security, complete with a cake with 67 candles. The Charlotte event will highlight the differences between Bowles' plan and that of his expected GOP opponent, Elizabeth Dole.
Barr's Starr Power. Former independent counsel Ken Starr spends an evening in the Peach State to headline a fund-raiser for fellow Clinton impeachment figure Bob Barr, R-Georgia, for his primary race against GOP Rep. John Linder.
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Bush in South Dakota. President Bush heads to Rapid City, South Dakota, to discuss the drought and other issues. Since it's an official event and not a campaign stop, the state's entire congressional delegation will be invited. Rep. John Thune, the GOP nominee to face Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson, has confirmed. Johnson has not received his invitation yet. "We'd like to go if we're invited," said Johnson spokesman Dan Pfeiffer. Sen. Tom Daschle has confirmed he will be there. This is Bush's second trip to the state this year, and his third since being elected president.
Wooing the Funnel Cake Vote, Part II (The Illinois State Fair). Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, makes the rounds at the 150th Annual Illinois State Fair in Springfield. Edwards, who's in the Land of Lincoln at the personal invitation of the Illinois' Democratic Senator Richard Durbin, keynotes the "Democrat Day" rally on the fairgrounds. He'll also work the crowd with Rep. Rod Blagojevich, the Democratic nominee for governor. Edwards will also attend the Democratic state convention in Springfield.
Sweeney and Harkin. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin (D) will address the Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO convention. The Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO has endorsed Sen. Harkin. Sweeney will be talking Social Security and corporate responsibility. The convention is in Waterloo, IA.
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
Kathleen's Got a Seacret. Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Maryland's Democratic gubernatorial hopeful, attends a fund-raiser at the Seacrets nightclub in Maryland's Ocean City. Also in attendance will be state comptroller and former two-term Democratic governor William Donald Schaefer, who recently told the Washington Post he advised Townsend that she had to "learn how to talk to people like me." Ocean City Mayor Jim Mathias hosts the event. Townsend and her GOP rival, Rep. Robert Ehrlich, are both in town for the annual conference of the Maryland Association of Counties.
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Edwards in Iowa. Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, stumps for Iowa congressional candidate Anne Hutchinson at the Carriage House restaurant in Davenport. Later that day, Edwards attends Clinton, Iowa, campaign event for Sen. Tom Harkin. Harkin won't be there at the event; Edwards will stand in for the 3-term senator.
Arkansas (Re)visited?. Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, the only announced Democratic candidate for President in 2004, addresses the Arkansas state Democratic convention in Little Rock. Arkansas, of course, was the home state of another relatively unknown governor of a small state mounting an uphill race against a popular President Bush.
Dole Fund-raiser. Elizabeth Dole hosts a low-dollar barbecue fund-raiser in Asheville for her Senate bid. At least 200 supporters are expected, at $10 per person.
Jeb and Janet. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) is on a northeast swing and Janet Reno (D) is on an Interstate 4 swing today. Bush will hit four4 northeast counties during a daylong grass roots bus tour: Bradford County, Clay County, Putnam County and St. John's County. His spokesman confesses "It's not really a bus. It's technically an RV."
Mass Democrats Debate. Shannon O'Brien, Tom Birmingham, Robert Reich and Warren Tolman -- the four Democratic candidates for Massachusetts governor -- debate tonight. (The debate will air on Sunday.) The Boston Globe and CBS affiliate will host the debate. A panel will ask questions, candidates will have one minute to respond with a 30-second follow-up answers to a panel's follow-up questions. Don't miss this one -- there are only three more scheduled debates!
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Edwards in Iowa. Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, has a packed schedule in Iowa. First, he'll stand in again for Sen. Tom Harkin at a Harkin reelection campaign at an event in Iowa City. From there, Edwards drives to Johnston, Iowa, where he'll visit the Iowa Technology Center at "Camp Dodge." He'll also meet up with Democratic congressman Leonard Boswell and tour his congressional district. Later that day, he'll head to state Sen. Bill Fink's farm outside Des Moines for a fund-raiser. While in Des Moines, he'll stop by the Iowa State Fair and work the crowd with state Rep. David Schrader. Edwards and his New American Optimists PAC are a sponsor of Schrader's racecar, which he owns and drives in competitions. Finally, he'll end the day at a reception hosted by the Iowa Cubs, a minor league feeder to for the Chicago Cubs. The event at Tumeas, an Italian restaurant in Des Moines is a fund-raiser for a local state legislator.
Mount Rushmore turns 70. Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Rep. John Thune, the GOP Senate nominee, will be on hand to celebrate South Dakota's most recognizable attraction.
Dole Fund-raiser. Elizabeth Dole, hosts two low-dollar barbecue fund-raisers for her Senate bid. The first event is a lunch in Caldwell County, North Carolina; the second is a dinner in Catawba. At least 200 supporters are expected at each event, at $10 per person.
Edwards in Iowa. Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, concludes his Iowa odyssey by attending an Iowa Cubs game at Taylor Stadium in Des Moines.
Lieberman in New Hampshire. Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Connecticut, attends the Hillsborough County Democratic Picnic in Manchester, New Hampshire. Other events are planned, but details are TBD.
Dean in New Hampshire. Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, D, pays another visit to neighboring New Hampshire, this time to address the New Hampshire Democratic Network in Concord. He will also attend a closed fund-raiser for a local Democrat running for county attorney.
Kerry and McCarthy. Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, headlines a Hamptons fund-raiser for Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-New York.
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