Shhh....the President is coming

Posted: Jul 07, 2006 12:00 AM

Sssh. The President is coming. That is message in the subject line of a recent John Kerry fundraising email. In the message about the President appearing at fundraisers for Jim Talent in Missouri and Mike DeWine in Ohio, Kerry says: “The Republicans think they can sneak President Bush and Vice President Cheney in and out of these states under cover of darkness, and that vulnerable Republican candidates will pick up GOP special interest campaign dollars -- not Bush-Cheney baggage. Make them pay a price for this most cynical of political calculations.”

The theme also appeared in a prior Kerry fundraising email.:

“President Bush will be sneaking into St. Louis tomorrow to raise money for Republican Senator Jim Talent. If it's like most GOP fundraising featuring Bush and Cheney these days, it will be a "cut and run" affair. Republican candidates ask high dollar supporters (tomorrow's event is at the Ritz-Carlton) to cut big checks before they run from being caught in the public eye with the President or Vice President.”

The truth is that neither of the two candidates are doing much to hide the President, much less sneak him in “under cover of darkness.” “Today’s Top Story” on the Talent for Senate website was about Bush’s visit to Missouri and on Mike DeWine’s campaign website, he names the President first in his list of endorsements.

The “running from the President” theme must be fairly high on the list of Democrat talking points because, as Power Line reports , it appears again in Minnesota in relation to U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy. The Minneapolis Star Tribune ran the following: “Blogospheric political pressure spiked Tuesday over online allegations that U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy, the Republican-endorsed candidate for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota, had "scrubbed" his congressional website of references to President Bush. For example, a smiling joint portrait of Kennedy and the president that formerly graced the congressman's web biography page has been replaced by a photo of Kennedy and some schoolchildren.

And legislation that once was "signed into law by President Bush" now merely "became law" on Kennedy's website,, according to the liberal political weblog MN Publius.”

The story goes on to report that the blog reporting the “scrubbing” of the website was wrong and that 72 mentions of “Bush” appear on Kennedy’s website. Changes made to the website were routine updates that were done regularly to post the most current material. Instead of that fact killing the story, however, Power Line noted that in spite of the blog account of Kennedy’s “scrubbing” of Bush from his website being reported as wrong, Chris Matthews still repeated the claim later on Hardball: “In Minnesota, the Senate race between Republican Mark Kennedy and Democrat Amy Klobuchar is a tough race. Seven months ago, the president went to Minneapolis to raise money for Kennedy's campaign…Now Kennedy seems to believe President Bush is a vulnerability, because this week Kennedy removed pictures of the unpopular president from his campaign web site.”

Power Line also noted that Sid Blumenthal evidently received the talking points too because he said the following at Salon the same week: “While the Senate was consumed debating the flag-burning amendment, Rep. Mark Kennedy, the Republican Senate candidate in Minnesota, was removing every mention and likeness of Bush from his campaign literature and advertising.” That was simply not true. It was certainly consistent with the previous messages though.

There has been a good bit of speculation over the past year, especially when the President’s poll numbers were at their lowest, that Republican candidates would be running from him in droves. It is now looking more likely that Republican candidates will instead follow the advice Hugh Hewitt gave in his book, Painting the Map Red, to run with the President on an agenda of strong themes like winning the war. Many have already begun to do just that. That does not mean that the Democrats’ talking points are going to be changing anytime soon, though.

Lorie Byrd is a columnist and contributor to