When President Bush swooped down here late last week, Republican House candidate Jeff Lamberti was happy for the high-level attention — and the roughly $400,000 in contributions — the short stopover produced for his campaign. But the man Lamberti is trying to unseat, Rep. Leonard L. Boswell (D), was no less happy to see the president in his district.
As Bush’s entourage was heading for Michigan and another campaign event, Lamberti said he would welcome the president back anytime. He also made it clear he does not want the president to be the issue that decides his fate next week: “I trust the voters to be sophisticated enough to know it’s between the two candidates.”
Boswell had another view, one that underscored the double-edged impact of a presidential visit this fall. Saying his challenger would be little more than a rubber stamp for the White House if he is elected, Boswell said Bush’s visit might give both campaigns a boost. “If it ramps up their troops a little bit, it will ramp ours up, too,” he said.
His name is not on any ballot this fall, but George W. Bush is the central issue of campaign 2006. Tuesday’s vote will deliver a referendum on six years of Bush’s leadership — bold and principled or radically divisive, depending on one’s political ideology — and the wartime policies he has championed. more