- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 21, 2004

It’s time for the major muscle in the presidential campaigns, with Sen. John Kerry turning to former President Bill Clinton and President Bush looking to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to pump up the vote.

Mr. Clinton, who apparently has recovered sufficiently from quadruple heart bypass surgery to campaign, will appear with the Democratic presidential nominee at a rally in Philadelphia next week.

“We have worked out through discussions with the former president at least a schedule for Monday,” said Mike McCurry, a Kerry campaign spokesman who was also Mr. Clinton’s press secretary during part of his time in the White House.

Meanwhile, Mr. Schwarzenegger said Monday that he would campaign in Ohio if the Bush campaign wants him to, and his spokesman told the San Francisco Chronicle that the governor “likely” would make an appearance for Mr. Bush before Election Day.

The spokesman said Columbus, Ohio, is a likely location, and the weekend before the election is a likely time.

Republicans in Washington said Mr. Schwarzenegger’s speech at the Republican National Convention might have made him a bigger star on the national stage than Mr. Clinton.

But Democrats said Mr. Clinton still can drive voters — particularly minority voters, where polls suggest Mr. Kerry is not doing as well as past Democrats — like nobody else. One even suggested getting the former president’s wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, to make more appearances, or even draft their daughter, Chelsea, to campaign, in order to capitalize on Mr. Clinton’s appeal.

Mr. Clinton this week began to play a role in raising money, signing fund-raising letters from the Kerry campaign and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

“Nothing less than the future of our country is at stake,” Mr. Clinton said in his letter for the Kerry campaign, adding that he “couldn’t let a critical moment like this pass.”

Mr. McCurry said Mr. Clinton may make other appearances for Mr. Kerry, but no schedule has been set.

Mr. Kerry has not been shy about associating himself with Mr. Clinton. He frequently mentions the former president’s economic record on the campaign trail, and Mr. McCurry said that’s part of the reason that the campaign wants him on the trail.

“People really do remember that we had good times in the 1990s,” he said, adding that Mr. Kerry talks with the former president once or twice a week.

But Mr. Kerry also takes pains when campaigning to distance himself from Mr. Clinton’s ill-fated health care plan, saying that he never signed on as a supporter of the Clinton plan and that his plan would not be government-run.

On Tuesday night, Mr. Kerry drew a big ovation from a crowd of supporters in Ohio when he mentioned that he’d just been talking with the former president by phone.

“We were talking about how when the other guys are trying to label you and make you into something you’re not,” Mr. Kerry said. “Bill Clinton and I were talking and we said, ‘You know, when the other guy wants you to stop thinking, and he’s trying to steer you into not thinking, and you want Americans to think about their future, it’s pretty clear who you ought to be voting for.’ ”

Mr. Clinton’s presidential office in New York did not return phone or e-mail messages yesterday. On Monday, Mrs. Clinton said the decision about whether Mr. Clinton will campaign depended on his doctors giving the go-ahead.

Although Mr. Clinton is a huge star in his own party, he is a polarizing figure in many places, and some House and Senate Democratic candidates chose not to run alongside him in the 2000 and 2002 elections.

Republicans say Mr. Schwarzenegger, possibly because he disagrees with Mr. Bush on social issues like abortion and embryonic stem-cell research, can reach beyond the party to rally other voters to Mr. Bush’s side.

The Bush campaign declined to comment on Mr. Schwarzenegger’s plans, saying his office asked them to refer all calls to the governor’s communications director, Rob Stutzman, who didn’t return a message yesterday.

But a source in the governor’s office said nothing has changed since earlier this week, when Mr. Schwarzenegger said there are “no plans to, but he would go to Columbus if it made sense.”

The source said the Bush campaign asked sometime around the Republican National Convention at the end of August whether Mr. Schwarzenegger would appear for the Bush team.

Mr. Schwarzenegger owns real estate in Ohio and helped create a body-building contest, the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic, which is now held annually in Columbus and is the centerpiece of a weeklong fitness exposition there.

Ohio is also one of the most vigorously contested states in this year’s contest, with polls showing the race too close to call. Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry both have made several trips there.

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