LET'S GET TOGETHER
President Bush has not only had the troops in Iraq on the offensive, he's been doing it at home. Literally.
Over the past two weeks, the President has held a series of off the record get-togethers with reporters and columnists in the White House residence, in part, say White House insiders, to disarm the attendees.
Bush has been using the casual setting to press his position on Iraq and to discuss other issues, including his relations with Congress, the upcoming budget battles, North Korea, and Afghanistan. One area he avoided, according to one attendee -- the coming primary battles for the person to replace him.
Bush apparently liked the meetings so much that he's expressed an openness to doing more down the line if his media and communications advisers believe it will help the Administration on the messaging front.
Former Vice President Al Gore has been spending the bulk of his time campaigning hard with voting members of the Academy for Motion Picture Arts, committing more than $500,000 of his own money to the PR campaign set up to win him an Oscar.
When Gore and his aides were approached about providing similar dollar amounts in support of ending the slaughter in Darfur, he declined, say fundraisers for the Darfur initiative.
It isn't surprising, then, that Gore is willing to overlook other inconvenient angles in his pursuit to end global warming. Despite advice from some of his environmental advisers, Gore is insisting that there be a musical performance of some kind from Antarctica during the July 7th "Inconvenient Truth" 24-hour concert to end global warming.
"He has people saying that it would send the wrong message to do anything down there for commercial purposes, but he wants this multi-continent concert and this is what he's demanding," says a source involved in the planning and promotion for the concert.
Gore and his people also have plans in place to hit up just about every major corporation in America to underwrite the massive event, including automakers and major, multinational manufacturers. "But it's funny, he has no interest in pursuing companies in India or China or engaging those governments," says the promoter. "We asked about doing some extensive work in India, and he just wasn't interested." One of the concerts is set to take place in Shanghai, however.
ROMNEY REACTING TO RUDY
With former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign seeing divergent polls on just how well he may or may not be doing in Iowa, there is some internal debate underway about what to do about a campaign operation that some believe has stalled due to a social conservative backlash and continuing doubts about Romney's ideology and positions on issues.
"Sometimes he's running second, sometimes he's running fourth," says a Romney supporter in New York. "It's tough to tell where he is in Iowa, but he's great at retail politics, of getting into those living rooms and wowing the voters. We're a long way off from worrying, but there are people who think perhaps we need to start tweaking the message a bit."
That, in part, may be the result of the seeming success former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has been having on the stump and in the media since officially announcing his candidacy earlier this month.
Giuliani, who essentially is running on a platform similar to that which Romney ran on for the Senate in 1994, has been getting respectful and enthusiastic receptions from conservatives across the country, despite the differences some voters may have with him. "He's not waffling or saying he adapted or evolved or whatever it is other candidates say when you challenge him on differences in viewpoints," says a social conservative in South Carolina, who has attended several political fundraisers that Giuliani headlined there for political candidates. "I don't agree with him on abortion, on marriage, on homosexuality, but I also respect him for his leadership. I'll look at him more seriously than I would someone who I think is just telling me something I want to hear."
Whatever tweaking Romney may want to make to his message, he hasn't left himself much margin for error, having laid out in the most detailed ways how his views and positions on abortion, some forms of stem cell research, taxes, marriage, and homosexuality.
"There isn't going to be any tweaking, there can't be," says a Romney campaign insider in Washington. "Governor Romney believes what he believes. He could not be any clearer about his positions. I'm sure he receives a lot of advice from people concerned about the campaign, but they aren't working for the Governor and we certainly aren't changing course. There's a lot of time to play this thing out."
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