Tales from the Trail

Bush out of sight, but keeping eye on election

WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush, who has stayed out of the public eye in the final days before the election to choose his successor, knows his popularity has suffered, but the White House insists he will have no problem looking in the mirror when he returns to Texas.

Bush spent the weekend at Camp David and has no public events on Monday or Tuesday. He last spoke with his preferred successor Republican John McCain on Sept. 25, the day of a White House meeting on the financial bailout.

McCain has actively campaigned to distance himself from the unpopular 43rd U.S. president, rarely appearing with Bush since capturing the Republican presidential nomination in March.

“Everybody would like to be popular. We can all remember that back in high school, everyone really wanted to be popular, and some of us just weren’t,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters on the eve of the election.

“But that doesn’t mean that you don’t have principles and values that you stayed true to. And that’s what this president has done, and that’s what he’s taught a lot of us, including me,” she said.

Cheney to do a little last-minute campaigning in Wyoming

UPDATED – Adds Laura Bush event

WASHINGTON – Vice President Dick Cheney will take a different approach than his boss to the presidential campaign this last weekend before election day — he will spend it at a public rally in his home state.

Cheney will attend a Get-Out-the-Vote rally in Laramie, Wyoming on Saturday, a rare public sighting on the campaign trail by Cheney or his boss, President George W. Bush. Both have attended numerous fundraisers around the country this election cycle but with their job approval ratings hovering around record lows, they have almost all been closed-door affairs.

Unlike Cheney, Bush is spending the last weekend of the 2008 campaign season secluded at the Camp David presidential retreat.

Marine One treasures for Bush

QUANTICO, Va., Oct 30 (Reuters) – Aside from the treasured memories, President George W. Bush will probably take back to Texas a souvenir or two from his years in the White House.

And as president he gets more than just T-shirts and mugs.

On Thursday, the Marines and sailors who take care of Marine One presented Bush with a little piece of the presidential helicopter to take home.

Any helicopter that carries the president is called Marine One and only a handful of senior aides get a lift in it. When Bush goes out of town, he takes the helicopter from the White House South Lawn to Andrews Air Force Base where his plane, Air Force One, is waiting.

Bush to spend last campaign weekend at Camp David

WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush, who said in March he would find ample time to campaign for Republican White House contender John McCain, is going to spend the last weekend of the 2008 race at, well, Camp David.

Bush has record low job approval ratings due to the prolonged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the sour economy. He will leave Friday for the U.S. presidential retreat in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland and will remain secluded until Sunday, according to his public schedule released late Tuesday evening.

“The president is pretty focused on the activities that we have here, especially getting this economy back in order,” said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. “As we’ve said for a while, the president was going to be focusing on this.”

Bush gives Republicans a little pep talk ahead of election

WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush dropped by the Republican National Committee headquarters unannounced to give the staff a little pep talk Tuesday amid polls showing Republicans trailing in the presidential contest and scores of key congressional races one week out from the general election.

Bush, with record low popularity ratings, has largely been unseen on the campaign trail this year, relegated to participating in private fundraisers for Republican presidential hopeful John McCain and congressional candidates.

“He encouraged them to work hard for John McCain and keep turning out the vote until the final ballot is cast next week,” White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said after the 20-minute visit.  “He also took the opportunity to thank the staff for all of their efforts during this election cycle and for their support of him over the last eight years.”

Boxing promoter King: diverse Bush administration helped pave road for Obama

By Ori Lewis

TEL AVIV – The possibility that the United States will vote in a first black president next week is in no small part due to the opportunities President George W. Bush gave to blacks in senior government posts, boxing promoter Don King said on Monday.

King, an erstwhile larger-than-life personality and probably the world’s best known boxing promoter, is in Israel this week to participate in Israeli President Shimon Peres’s Center for Peace’s 10-year anniversary celebrations.

“We had 43 presidents in the United States, he was the 43rd president, 42 of them promised us everything and gave us nothing, both Democrats and Republicans,” King said in an interview with Reuters.

Does anyone wonder who got Bush’s vote in early ballot?

WASHINGTON – While there have been reports of long lines and an occasional problem in states conducting early voting for the 2008 presidential election, one such voter had no problems at all — President George W. Bush.

Bush and his wife Laura voted on Friday using Texas’ early voting process, according to White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.

“The ballots will be mailed back to Texas today,” she said, adding that the president and his wife would be at the White House for election night. In the 2002, 2004 and 2006 elections, Bush voted in Crawford, Texas, where he owns a 1,600 acre ranch.

Bush working the campaign ropeline draws to an end

WASHINGTON – George W. Bush has worked his last campaign ropeline as president.

Bush, with historically low job approval ratings, made only an occasional public appearance on the trail this year, preferring to build support and raise campaign cash behind closed doors for Republican presidential hopeful John McCain and congressional candidates.

Bush also had to cancel or send stand-ins for a few private fundraisers while he stayed in Washington to work the telephones and lobby for the financial bailout legislation that passed earlier this month. His last fundraiser was on Tuesday for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

McCain, Obama tussle over backing Bush’s policies

President George W. Bush is not running for office in November but he was a big topic of conversation in the final presidential debate between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain.
rtx9l0n.jpgObama often says that his rival would represent a continuation of the policies of the unpopular current president, and at the debate pointed to McCain’s support for four of the last five Bush budgets, which he argued have led to record deficits.

“Senator Obama, I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush you should have run four years ago,” the Arizona lawmaker said. “I’m going to give a new direction to this economy in this country.”

Obama acknowledged that McCain had broken with Bush on some important issues but argued that on economic matters, McCain was closely allied with the unpopular president.

Bush gave him a ride anyway

bush1.jpgST. LOUIS – President George W. Bush gave Kenny Hulshof a ride on Air Force One to a fundraiser on Friday for the Republican congressman who just hours earlier had voted for a second time against the financial bailout package. 

 Bush attended the fundraiser that was expected to raise $1.5 million for Hulshof who is running for governor of Missouri and trailing in the polls against Democrat Jay Nixon. 

Bush and Hulshof emerged from Air Force One side-by-side and waved to onlookers at the airport.