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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

ON THE TRAIL: 'I Heart NY' edition
Thank god this only happens every four years, this presidential campaign is really screwing with my commute. Yes, just when Gotham had fully recovered from last month's Republican invasion, BOTH candidates decided to drop in on the Apple this week. Random street closings, subway re-routing, general chaos, and an uptick in the number of suspected assassination plots have marked the week thanks to Bush and Kerry. But I suppose we should all be thankful we don't live in Davenport, Ia., otherwise, all of our banks surely would have been robbed by now.

Better Late Than Never
Kerry coasted into town first, opening up his tour of NYC with what was, by most accounts, his clearest and most encouraging attack on the bumbling incumbent yet. A collective sigh of relief could be heard from Democrats everywhere as Kerry delivered a harsh indictment of Bush's Iraqi adventure and offered up a sharper, more focused explanation of his record on and his intended approach toward Iraq. Kerry finally came out swinging, and the campaign suddenly seemed to find new life. During a fundraiser at the New York Hilton last night, Kerry said the speech had put him and his supporters in a "fighting mood." When we look back, should Kerry win, yesterday's NYU speech may be seen as the turning point in his campaign.

But at a fundraiser a block-and-a-half away at the New York Sheraton, Bush answered back with the familiar claim that Kerry was once again flip-flopping on his Iraq stance. In his introduction of Bush, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani oh-so-eloquently referenced Kerry's speech by saying, "Flip flop flip flop flop flip flip." Good Rudy, real mature. Is this how the Republicans plan to respond to every proposal offered up by Kerry and every charge leveled against the Bush administration? It seems to me as though this line of attack my grow stale soon, if it hasn't already. Eventually, someone is going to want to hear an actual solution to the mess the Bush camp has put us in, or at least an admission that a mess is what we have. Call me crazy.

Dueling Fundraisers
As mentioned, both candidates held fundraisers in midtown last night. Let's look at the tale of the tape shall we?

The Venue: Kerry's event was held at the New York Hilton, which I assume puts Nicky and Paris firmly in the Dem's camp, while Bush's was held at the Sheraton. I'm really not sure what the Sheraton sisters are up to these days, so I gotta give this one to Kerry.

The Menu: Bush guests were treated to a plate of beef, wild rice, mushroom salad and grilled asparagus. Kerry's guests knoshed on filet mignon, goat cheese and cranberries on mixed greens, julienne carrots and potatoes. Unless Bush's mushrooms were of the hallucinogenic variety, I gotta swing toward Kerry once again.

Attendance (i.e. $$$$): Bush drew about 750 supporters and $3 million, while Kerry took in approximately 1,000 and $4 million. I'm assuming the julienne carrots and goat cheese salad are what tipped the scales in Kerry's favor.

Star Power: As previously mentioned, Bush pulled superstar mayor Rudy Giuliani in for his fete. At Kerry's shin-dig, documentarian Ken Burns put in an appearance as did celebrated techno-vegan Moby, which I assume means there was an extra plate of filet mignon left behind. A few years ago, Giuliani's appearance would've excited me, but since I'm now convinced that Rudy has sold the soul of his beloved NYC and stomped on the graves of the 9/11 victims for his own political aspirations, I have to give it to Kerry and Moby once again. By the way, can I have that steak Moby?

Kerry Speaks to Regis
It's been a busy trip to New York, the media capital of the world, for John Kerry. Following his speech at NYU yesterday, Kerry appeared at Redbook magazine's annual "Mothers and Shakers" awards luncheon along side his wife Teresa and actress Uma Thurman, who was apparently there to represent evil, liberal Hollywood. Kerry then embarked on his own personal publicity tour appearing on Dr. Phil, Letterman and Regis & Kelly. Apparently, Kerry is promoting a movie or something.

On Regis & Kelly this morning, Kerry seemingly came out against child labor laws, relaying stories about children who have slaved away making buttons and bracelets to raise money for his campaign. I'm sure the Republicans will be all over this: "Kerry Steals From Children! Kerry supports button-making sweat shops! Call him Kathie Lee Kerry!" And on Letterman's show last night Kerry seemed relaxed and confident, frequently taking shots at Bush through humor and even his own Top Ten list. Kerry was pretty funny, even if he did swipe my joke (3rd item). Hey John, stop poaching from my blog!

Here are Kerry's "Top Ten Bush Tax Proposals", as presented on The Late Show:
10. No estate tax for families with at least two U.S. presidents.
9. W-2 Form is now Dubya-2 Form.
8. Under the simplified tax code, your refund check goes directly to Halliburton.
7. The reduced earned income tax credit is so unfair, it just makes me want to tear out my lustrous, finely groomed hair.
6. Attorney General (John) Ashcroft gets to write off the entire U.S. Constitution.
5. Texas Rangers can take a business loss for trading Sammy Sosa.
4. Eliminate all income taxes; just ask Teresa (Heinz Kerry) to cover the whole damn thing.
3. Cheney can claim Bush as a dependent.
2. Hundred-dollar penalty if you pronounce it "nuclear" instead of "nucular."
1. George W. Bush gets a deduction for mortgaging our entire future.

Bush Speaks to the World
President Bush was in New York this week as well, although he avoided Regis. No, he was here to speak to a much more important audience: The United Nations General Assembly. In front of the very audience whose leader, Kofi Annan, a week ago had deemed Bush's war "illegal," Bush was provided a chance to defend his decision to launch an unprecedented, pre-emptive strike on Iraq and to appeal to the world body for assistance in stabilizing the battered, tumultuous nation. To accomplish this, the president spoke for all of 24 minutes. Near the conclusion of his detail-free presentation about obvious concepts such as the evilness of terrorism and the virtues of liberty, Bush said, "Each of us alone can only do so much. Together, we can accomplish so much more." Too bad you chose to go it alone in Iraq then, eh Bushie? Punk-ass chump.

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