Saturday, October 30, 2004
It may be trick, not treat, for Bush
Supporters torn between Halloween rounds, rally
By Denise Smith Amos
Enquirer staff writer
In the crowd welcoming President Bush to Great American Ball Park Sunday will be 5-year-old Kearstan Martin, sporting pigtails and red ruby shoes in her Wizard of Oz Dorothy costume.
She won't be trick-or-treating; she'll be hailing the chief with her family and a throng of other Bush supporters, said her mother, Alissa Martin of Montgomery.
At the same time, in Green Township, 7-year-old Alyse Peck will make her own campaign stops - for candy - wearing a purple poodle skirt and a flippy '50s hairdo. She had wanted to see Bush, but she wanted to celebrate Halloween more, her mom, Cara Hester, said.
"As much as I'm a Bush supporter and I'd love to go, it would break her heart if we didn't go trick-or-treating this year," said Hester, who volunteers for prosecutor candidate Joe Deters.
Across Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, some Republican parents are torn between witnessing Bush's 11th-hour political rally or taking their children trick-or-treating. The dilemma might affect attendance.
Rally organizers earlier had hoped for a standing-room-only crowd of 50,000, but by Friday, estimates had fallen to 30,000 or so, said Greg Hartmann, Southwest Ohio chairman of the Bush-Cheney campaign.
Bush will make a rare overnight stay in Cincinnati Halloween night, aides said. He's also expected to hold a rally in Wilmington Monday, the Wilmington News-Journal reported Friday.
John Edwards, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, will campaign in Cincinnati Monday, the Kerry-Edwards campaign said. Details have not been announced.
Hartmann said Bush's Cincinnati rally will feature candy, ice cream, games and a carousel.
"Tickets have been flying out the door. I think people are excited about seeing the president two days before the election," Hartmann said.
But Halloween habits are hard to break.
Debbie Anderson, a physician and mother of two in Anderson Township, calls herself a "W Mom." But she'll miss Bush rather than disappoint her second- and fourth-graders.
"It's killing me not to go," she said. "But I'm a mom first. I hope George Bush understands."
Bush has been to the area seven times during his presidency, four times just this year. When he came to West Chester in September, tens of thousands attended, including parents who pulled children from school.
This time, many "Bushies" say they're not sure what to do.
Mike Kamer, a Villa Hills father of three, says his family will have to vote on it. They made costumes in a pioneer/Civil War theme, so at least some of them may wear them to the rally, he said.
"We may get a baby-sitter and sneak out" to the rally, he said.
If you go
Children in costume are welcome at the Bush rally for a Halloween party and trick-or-treat at the Great American Ball Park.
Gates open at 2 p.m. and close at 6 p.m.
Bush is expected to speak after 7 p.m.
Only those with tickets will be admitted.
Arrive early to allow time for security searches.