October 15, 2004
THE UNTENDED GARDEN:
President to try N.J. after all: In the state where the last Republican presidential victory was his father's, he'll stop in Marlton on Monday. (Tom Turcol, 10/15/04, Philadelphia Inquirer)
Sensing a possible upset on Democratic turf, President Bush has decided to make his first campaign trip to New Jersey in the closing weeks of the race.
Posted by Orrin Judd at October 15, 2004 4:37 PM
Bush's unexpected detour to a state that no Republican presidential candidate has carried since 1988 will take him to Marlton, in Burlington County, on Monday.
He will speak to Republicans at the Evesham Recreation Center. Vice President Cheney appeared in nearby Medford earlier this week.
With less than three weeks left in the campaign, the White House is hoping to capitalize on polls showing Bush within striking distance in the state of his Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry.
"The President is serious about New Jersey and trying to take advantage of Sen. Kerry's lack of attention to the state," said William Palatucci, the New Jersey GOP's finance director.
Campaigning in South Jersey gives Bush what his aides call a "double hit" - rallying the Republican faithful there and getting free television exposure in adjacent Pennsylvania, considered one of the swing states that could decide the election.
Dems have been arguing for a while now that the polls showing NJ close are outliers. But the Bush campaign apparently believes otherwise quite strongly. And if Geraghty's right about candidates' locations being a better indicator than polls, then this could get interesting.
Being in the eastern time zone, losing NJ would psychologically devastating to the Dems, potentially taking the gusto out of even their post-election shenanigans.
I hope the Bush campaign isn't getting overconfident. Based on candidate locations in 2000, one would have concluded that Bush had a shot in California and that Florida was in the bag. We all know how that turned out.
Well, he won FL, so it seems worthwhile to have been trying to pick up CA.
The 2000 CA appearances were part feint, part salve to CA donors. This may be a ploy to draw Kerry away from battleground states that are an absolute must. If Kerry doesn't win Ohio, he won't be president. Ohio could make Florida '00 look like a picnic, given that there could be as many as 50,000 "provisional" ballots cast.
I am pretty certain that both campaigns are going to concentrate their efforts in ten to fifteen states during the last 18 days, including those Geraghty mentioned. My own list (add your own):
Of the five that Bush won in '00, due to demographic shifts, he only absolutely has to hold on to three (Florida, Colorado and Ohio), and I think he's going to spend the most effort in Ohio because the other two are leaning his way fairly definitely. On the other hand, Kerry has to hold on to _all_ the blue states plus try to pick up some reds, and Wisconsin has been trending Bush for weeks, with Iowa and Minnesota being quite vulnerable. I think NJ is well worth a shot. In fact, if Bush can pick off PA this time, Kerry is finished.
He should also put in a couple of appearances in South Dakota and Washington and try to pick off the vulnerable Senators.
At 72hour.com, the Bush team is recruiting people to help the campaign in AR, AZ, CO, FL, IA, ME, MI, MN, NC, NH, NM, NV, OH, OR, PA, WA and WV.
WI and NJ are strangely missing, though perhaps they're considering shipping extras in from Minnesota and Pennsylvania. That Arizona and North Carolina are on there is a bit of a surprise too--but the inclusion of Washington, despite looking truly dismal in all the polls, is an indication that they're going to work to help Rossi and Nethercutt out up here.
Speaking of the above site, anyone here who wants to see OJ's predictions come true should go there and sign up to help out. Politics is not a spectator sport.
I think a new poll came out today (Fairleigh Dickenson) that has Bush and Kerry tied at 46 in NJ.
My sense is that OH and FL are slightly in the Bush column and they will need attention right up until 11/2. WI, MN, IA, and even PA seem to be solid pickup opportunities for Bush. NV and NH aren't solid for Bush but are small and probably won't get attention. Bush should hit SD to get Daschle defeated. As for WA I would hope Bush makes a stop but I think WA will fall into the close but not quite category.
My dream is that Russert has his scoreboard out saying Ohio, Ohio, Ohio and then watches dumbfounded as Bush takes PA, NJ, and so forth making Ohio not key anymore.