Skip to comments.Michigan Democrats to hear from Gephardt, Shaheen on Saturday (Kerry poorly organized as well)
Posted on 05/14/2004 1:32:58 PM PDT by Dan from Michigan
Michigan Democrats to hear from Gephardt, Shaheen on Saturday
By KATHY BARKS HOFFMAN
The Associated Press
5/14/2004, 3:13 p.m. ET
LANSING, Mich. (AP) U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt was supposed to do well in Michigan's Democratic presidential caucuses in early February, but the labor favorite dropped out after the Iowa caucuses in January.
Now, Gephardt is spending his time promoting the man who came in first in Iowa: U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts. Gephardt along with Kerry campaign national chairwoman Jeanne Shaheen come to Detroit Saturday to fire up the state's Democrats at the party's annual Jefferson-Jackson Day events.
Gephardt, who has been mentioned as a possible Kerry vice presidential pick, says it's all about beating President Bush, not about whether he harbors any regrets over his own failed presidential bid.
"I'm excited to be back in Michigan. I'm disappointed I'm not the candidate, but it's all about winning this election," he said in a Friday telephone interview with The Associated Press.
The Missouri congressman came to Michigan just before the Feb. 7 caucuses to throw his support to Kerry. The two men stood side-by-side in Warren, a mostly blue-collar suburb of Detroit, as Gephardt told supporters, "I'm here today adding my voice to all of yours to say that we want and need this man to be the next president of the United States."
Until he dropped out, Gephardt had been a favorite among union workers. Once he ended his own bid, he campaigned with Kerry in union-heavy states such as Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin to help give the sometimes-elite-sounding Kerry a more common touch.
The Kerry campaign has been grateful for Gephardt's help in raising money and wooing voters.
"He is such a hard campaigner and he feels so personally the issues that are at stake in this race, on the economy, on health care," said Kerry campaign spokeswoman Kathy Roeder. "He is just great at building a real enthusiasm amongst his supporters for Kerry."
Kerry and Gephardt have differed on some issues, such as higher fuel-efficiency standards and funding the war in Iraq. But Gephardt said the focus now has to be on coming together whether or not he's on the ticket.
"I'm happy to do whatever the Kerry campaign wants me to do to win this election. It's the most important election of my lifetime," he said.
Shaheen, former governor of New Hampshire, is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the Michigan Democratic Women's Caucus luncheon Saturday at the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center. Gephardt will address the Democrats' dinner that night.
In the morning, Democrats meet to choose many of their delegates to the July 26-29 Democratic National Convention in Boston.
Kerry will take 93 of Michigan's 128 pledged delegates to the convention after winning 52 percent of the vote in the party's presidential caucuses. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean will take 24 pledged delegates, while the Rev. Al Sharpton will take seven and U.S. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina will take four.
Republicans meet next weekend in Grand Rapids to choose delegates for their Aug. 30-Sept. 2 national convention in New York. Bush campaign opened its Michigan campaign office in Southfield in early April and the president campaigned in Niles, Kalamazoo and Sterling Heights on May 3.
Kerry talked about his economic plan April 29 in Ann Arbor and is expected to campaign again in the state later this month, Roeder said. But he has not yet opened a new campaign office or picked a state director in Michigan after shutting down his campaign offices after the caucuses.
With Michigan considered a battleground state, the delay is making some of Kerry's advisers nervous.
"I have been concerned for several months that they had not selected a state director that we could all work with," said former Gov. James Blanchard, an adviser on Kerry's state and national campaigns. "We understand the budgetary constraints he had after the primaries. ... Now that they've been able to raise a lot of money, they're scaling up."
Roeder said the Kerry campaign will name a Michigan director in the next week or two. She said the campaign has been looking for a high-level senior staff member to fill the post since Michigan's so important to Kerry's chances of winning the White House.
"It's really just a process of making sure it's done right, rather than making sure it's done on someone else's timeline," she said. "We want to find the right people, so we're not rushing through it."
Gephardt, who also ran for president in 1988, said a lot of outside groups already are registering voters and campaigning for Kerry in key states.
"I'm not worried about the timing on getting an office opened in various states. ... We're ahead of where we've ever been as far as get-out-the-vote efforts," Gephardt said. "When the Kerry office gets going, it will have a ready-made organization on the ground already."
Kerry talked about his economic plan April 29 in Ann Arbor
And only 400 people showed, compared to 5000 at an NRA event in Flint(and 2000 in DeWitt less than 50 miles away hours before) back in 2000, probably 3-4 thousand or so at Gore's 2000 East Lansing rally, and 10,000 at Bush's Freedom Hill rally this year.
But he has not yet opened a new campaign office or picked a state director in Michigan after shutting down his campaign offices after the caucuses.
1. Why in the blue hell is he waiting?
2. WTF was he doing shutting the offices down?
We're ahead of where we've ever been as far as get-out-the-vote efforts,"
Translation - counting on unions doing the work.
Off topic question..but is Howard Dean still paying off Carol Mosely Braun's campaign debt?
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