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Published: Wednesday, 9/1/2004

Zell Miller to visit Toledo for Bush

BLADE STAFF
Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia, a Democrat, tells the Ohio Republican delegation why he supports President Bush. Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia, a Democrat, tells the Ohio Republican delegation why he supports President Bush.
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NEW YORK - A campaign volunteer with close ties to the Bush/Cheney '04 campaign said yesterday that Democratic Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia will campaign for the President in Toledo on Saturday, fresh off appearances here at the Republican National Convention.

The visit of a familiar Bush Democrat to a county where Democrats control much of the local political landscape is the latest effort by the Bush campaign to make gains in what is shaping up to be a key area of a key state, said Lucas County Commissioner Maggie Thurber, one of the state's leading delegates to the convention here.

It is yet unknown where or at what time the Miller event will be held, the volunteer said, but the volunteer said it will likely be a morning affair.

Mr. Miller, who has written a book recently criticizing his own party, spoke at the Ohio delegation breakfast yesterday.

The Georgia Democrat will be accompanied to Toledo by an Ohio Democrat, Youngstown Mayor George McKelvey, who spoke at the GOP convention yesterday in support of President Bush as the best candidate to fight the war on terror.

Boosting turn-out by just a half-dozen points in Lucas County could make all the difference in the race for the White House, Ms. Thurber said.

Mr. Bush won 39 percent of the vote in the county four years ago.

Another prominent national Democrat - former New York Mayor Ed Koch - said yesterday he is also planning to campaign in Ohio on behalf of President Bush over the next two months. It will be one of only two states in which he will work for the Republican campaign. The other is Florida.

"I don't agree with President Bush on one single domestic issue,'' Mr. Koch said. "But the war on terror trumps them all,'' and he said he simply trusts Mr. Bush much more to conduct the war properly.

- FRITZ WENZEL

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NEW YORK - The Michigan delegation to the convention is celebrating this week the recent naming of Congressman Pete Hoekstra of western Michigan as the new chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

- FRITZ WENZEL

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So much for the $750,000 "bridge" the GOP paid to have built across Eighth Avenue in New York so thousands of journalists could get easily back and forth between their filing centers in the old post office building and Madison Square Garden. It's too shaky for the magnetometers, so reporters have to go through a roundabout way to get to the arena for the convention proceedings, being screened again for the second or third time.

- ANN McFEATTERS

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Asked Tuesday by a college Republican from Democrat-heavy Massachusetts if there were any chance the Bush/Cheney campaign might come visit lonely GOPers there, Karl Rove, senior advisor to the President, responded bluntly: "Man, we'll be waving at you as we fly overhead to New Hampshire,'' he said.

- FRITZ WENZEL

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Where is Colin? The secretary of State is nowhere to be seen at Madison Square Garden. That's because, say GOP honchos, President Bush does not want his national security team engaging in partisan politics. (It's OK for him, of course, the leader of the team.) But if there's one thing the delegates are in universal agreement on it's that nobody expects Mr. Powell to be around for a second Bush term, if there is a second Bush term.

- ANN McFEATTERS

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Michigan Congressman Candice Miller said she has been very pleased with her interaction with the locals during the convention here this week, which is quite different than she thought she would be thinking after being told to expect some invective in this very Democratic city.

"I just think that the people of New York have been great. They really have been very welcoming. Even if they are not Republicans, they have got to be very happy about the economic impetus. The thing that I have heard the most complaints about from the average New Yorker have been about all these protesters, who are gumming up the streets.

"It's not the delegates who are gumming up the streets,'' she said.

- FRITZ WENZEL

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Pollster Frank Luntz had 13 minutes with the Ohio GOP delegation yesterday morning and he used every second.

Standing in the center aisle, his voice amplified with a clip-on microphone, Mr. Luntz - who conducts focus groups for MSNBC - said "outsourcing" is the most important issue for Ohio voters.

He advised the way for Republicans to deal with it is to steer the topic to five words - "taxation, regulation, innovation, education, and litigation."

He also encouraged Ohio Republicans to try to frame issues in the context of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

"What people will accept about the [federal] deficit will be greater it if you put it in that context,'' he said.

Even before Mr. Luntz's comments, delegate Juan Perez from Columbus was on message. Mr. Perez, who placed Mr. Bush's name into nomination on Monday, said the President is "aggressive" against terrorism and has worked hard to breathe new life into an economy damaged by the 9/11 attacks.

Mr. Luntz said the use of the word "betrayal" in the second Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad - which examines John Kerry's anti-war activities after he returned from the Vietnam War - is why Mr. Kerry

is losing grounds in the polls over the past 10 days.

Delegate Eleanor Awadalla followed Mr. Luntz outside the ballroom to press him on why the Republicans aren't attacking Mr. Kerry's running

mate, U.S. John Edwards of North Carolina.

Dr. Awadalla, a Toledo dentist, said Mr. Edwards' background as a trial lawyer in North Carolina worries her.

"If he gets into the White House, I think malpractice rates will go up and health insurance costs will skyrocket,'' Dr. Awadalla said.

Mr. Luntz, however, was more interested in Mr. Kerry's wife, Theresa Heinz Kerry. "Do you ever notice that John Kerry doesn't smile much. If I had a wife who was worth $1 billion, I'd be high-fiving the sky every day,'' he said.

- JAMES DREW



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