Noted on the Campaign Trail

GOP'ers start jostling for '08; Why Kennedy and Carter are still at odds, as is the Kennedy clan itself; Kerry or Edwards: Who knows?

By Richard S. Dunham

The 2008 Presidential campaign is under way -- even though the 2004 campaign is just now getting serious with the voting in Iowa. Early toe-in-the-water experiments are already taking place in the wide-open Republican contest to succeed George Bush. Among the recent GOP bigwigs to visit Iowa are a few rumored to have White House aspirations.

Among them: former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who earned widespread national acclaim for his performance in the aftermath of September 11; Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who earned widespread national press for his gay-bashing rhetoric; and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, who fashions himself a Bush-style compassionate conservative.

All were campaigning for the President, but they could also be collecting chits for a potential '08 candidacy. It's never too early to start.


Teddy Kennedy's famous speech at the 1980 Democratic convention ended with his eloquent call to liberal arms: "The dream will never die." Well, it seems this year that it's the intraparty feud between Kennedy and then-President Jimmy Carter that will never die. Kennedy and his vaunted political machine are hard at work trying to make Massachusetts Senator John Kerry the Democratic nominee. But Carter, the man who defeated Kennedy in '80, has embraced Kerry's bitter New England rival, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean.

Dean took valuable time from his Iowa homestretch effort to fly to Plains, Ga., to go to church with the former President. Kennedy accompanied Kerry in the closing day of the Iowa campaign.


Speaking of the Kennedys, a bit of a feud is splitting the family in '04. Ted may be Kerry's marquee supporter and political godfather, but the Massachusetts senator's son, Rhode Island Representative Patrick Kennedy, has lined up behind another Kerry rival, Dick Gephardt. Patrick joined Teamsters President Jim Hoffa and other big-name Gephardt backers at a Jan. 18 get-out-the-vote rally in Des Moines, while his dad was with Kerry in Waterloo.

And the Kennedy family news doesn't stop there. Arnold Schwarzenegger is backing fellow Republican George W. Bush, but Democrats seem to be regularly invoking the California governor's name -- or at least his accent. At a single Kerry rally, Ted Kennedy, the candidate, and Kerry stepson Chris Heinz all did their best impressions of the Kennedy's favorite nephew-in-law. The common laugh line: "Kahl-ee-for-nee-ah."


Iowa's malaprop-prone Democratic congressman, Leonard Boswell, was making the rounds at campaign events in the run-up to the caucuses. One time, he forgot where he was. "John Kerry is a very, very special person," he told a capacity crowd at Drake University. "What you see is what you get." Boswell's praise elicited a stunned reaction from the audience. Why? He was addressing a John Edwards rally. The tongue-tied representative quickly apologized. "Too many Johns," he said. "I'm talking about John Edwards."

That's O.K. Three hours later, over at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, he was introducing Kerry -- for real. "They're not going to question his courage, not only little bit," Boswell said of his fellow Vietnam War veteran.

Dunham is a White House correspondent in BusinessWeek's Washington bureau

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