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  • America Votes

    Election news from across the Knight Ridder network and the Web

    Monday, September 27, 2004

    Turf battle in Wisconsin 

    Just when John Kerry thought he had sun washed, bucolic south central Wisconsin all to himself to prepare for his debate with President Bush this week, the Bush camp invaded. Bush aides set up shop for the day at a local inn in Spring Green, Wis., about a mile from Kerry's House on the Rock Resort.

    The Bushies have brought in New York's former Republican mayor Rudy Giuliani to stump here and to meet with Kerry's traveling press corps. Steve Schmidt, the Bush campaign's master of quick response, was here. The Bushies were even offering van rides from Kerry's resort to their local redoubt.

    So why does Kerry's debate prep merit a Bush surrogate of Giuliani's stature?

    "The simple answer: This is a place we can find cameras so we can get on and get our message out," the irrepressible mayor said.

    "Surely you can find cameras in another part of the country, sir?"

    "Well, not ones that aren't being used today," hizzoner replied. "We thought we'd do you a favor and create a story for you."

    Bush is having his own retreat in Crawford, Texas, this week. But the Kerry camp is planning to stay away. Nothing personal. "We just don't have to do that," said Kerry spokesman David Wade. "We have a record that we can defend."

    Giuliani offered a new, novel defense of Bush, who's been under persistent Democratic attack for lacking nuance and practicing a ham-handed foreign policy.

    Actually, Rudy said, what the Democrats "are accusing the president of is having too sophisticated a response to terrorism because they keep attacking him for not concentrating all the efforts in Afghanistan. What the president has understood is that you need a very sophisticated response to terrorism. You've got to deal with terrorism here at home ... and you can't deal with terrorism in just one place. That it would have been a mistake just to be in Afghanistan alone, that you've got to deal with terrorism in Iraq, you've got to deal with terrorism, at that time at least, in Libya and other places."

    posted by Jim Kuhnhenn at 4:30 PM



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