Washington Prowler

Kerry Flatters Bush

He imitates him. Plus: Kerry deficits. Also: Scratched from the Oscars.

By 3.4.04

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PINNED DONKEY
Presumed Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry makes his distaste for President Bush very apparent, from the way he utters "the guy's" name to the series of inaccurate statements he has made about the administration. But that doesn't seem to hold Kerry back from imitating the man he'd like to unseat.

For example, when Kerry does wear an American flag pin on his suit jacket (there have been times when he eschewed it for political reasons), he wears the one given him by President Bush after September 11th. The President gave all of the U.S. Senators and Congressmen lapel pins as a show of solidarity.

According to a former Kerry staffer, the candidate early in the campaign told staffers that he sometimes felt wearing the lapel pin was divisive. "He wouldn't always wear it," says the former staffer. "My guess is that now he'll be wearing it all the time."

As well, Kerry has taken to playing orange bowling on his press plane in order to give journalists photo ops on the road. This was a game Bush was known to play last election cycle. Recently, in a knock-off of the Clinton campaign, Kerry has taken to throwing a football around on airport tarmacs.

"They are desperate to make him look less flat and boring," says the former staffer, who jumped to a rival campaign before the Iowa caucuses. "Those gimmicks this early just have a whiff of desperation."

FUZZY MONEY
More than $5 million in debt from the primary season, the Kerry camp is looking for a quick infusion of cash to get back up into the black. One plan is raising eyebrows and merits watching.

According to a DNC fundraiser, the Kerry campaign is looking into the possibility of opening a joint account with the DNC, which would allow donors to write checks in excess of the maximum $2,000 donation for a single political campaign.

"They could write a check for $3,500. Kerry would get $2,000 and we'd get the other $1,500," says the fundraiser.

Imagine the headache of paperwork, financial tracking and reporting, particularly for donors who have already maxed out their donations to the Kerry campaign. "Exactly," says the fundraiser. "Any penalties imposed by the FEC would be minor if we win the White House."

LONG FACED
In rehearsals last Friday and Saturday for last Sunday's Academy Awards show, jokewriters had included an item about Seabiscuit being a winner and then, using the imagery of a horse's face, to poke fun at Sen. John Kerry. In the end, even though host Billy Crystal belittled President Bush, the Kerry humor was scratched.

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