Saturday, July 29, 2000

Bush bandwagon rolling into area

GOP candidate in Covington today, Blue Ash Sunday

By Patrick Crowley and Howard Wilkinson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Natalie Schultz, 6, of Fort Thomas, paints a sign for today's rally for George W. Bush held in Devou Park.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
        George W. Bush brings his presidential campaign and the national spotlight to Northern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio today as part of one of the most important journeys he'll make in his bid to win the White House.

        Mr. Bush will be in Covington today and Blue Ash on Sunday as part of the campaign tour he is taking on the way to next week's Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.

        The visit is expected to receive lots of attention from the national press — more than 100 reporters are traveling with Mr. Bush — as reporters from across the nation preview the candidate's appearance at the convention.

        “This is a huge trip,” said Barb Haas of Fort Thomas, a delegate to the convention and the chairwoman of the Campbell County Republican Party.

        “Everybody knows George W. Bush is on the way to the convention where he'll make one of the biggest speeches of the campaign when he accepts the Republican nomination for president,” Mrs. Haas said.

        The Bush campaign sees Ohio and Kentucky as keys to victory this fall.

        Every Republican presidential candidate who has ever lost Ohio also lost the election. And Kentucky has gone with the last nine winners in presidential elections.

        “Both states are heavily in play this year,” said U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, a Louisville Republican advising the Bush campaign.

        Mr. Bush is on a five-state swing that began Friday in Arkansas before moving into Missouri and Kentucky.

        Other stops of the trip include Dayton and Columbus in Ohio; Charleston, W.Va., and Harrisburg, Pa. The candidate is due to arrive in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

        Dick Cheney, the vice presidential running mate Mr. Bush selected this week, will be on the early leg of the trip but won't make it to Covington or Blue Ash. He'll head to his home in Wyoming to work on his convention speech, according to the Bush campaign.

        Mr. Bush is scheduled to arrive at Devou Park at 6:45 p.m., but the event actually begins at 5 p.m. at the park's Ohio River overlook.

        The Northern Kentucky stop will be followed Sunday by what Republicans in Hamilton County are calling a “GOP family picnic” Sunday afternoon at the Blue Ash Sports Park on Grooms Road.

        Gates to the sports park are to open at 1 p.m. and Mr. Bush is expected to speak about 3 p.m. It will be a ticketed event; tickets are available by calling Hamilton County Republican Party headquarters at 381-5454.


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