Bette Was To Do A Democratic Fundraiser in Miami


Mister D: Somebody wrote me in about this, but I couldn’t find anything on it at the time. Please write me back…I would love to give you credit for this. Tomorrow night , I believe Bette does a fundraiser in MN.

Miami Herald
Kerry on cusp of another visit
The Democratic candidate is expected to tour areas ravaged by Hurricane Charley as early as Friday.

Hurricane Charley all but swept away one key figure this week: John Kerry.

The Democratic presidential nominee — who had hoped to time his visits to Florida to exploit a recent poll that gives him a slight edge over President Bush in the battleground state that decided the presidency in 2000 — was blown off the radar screen with the storm’s arrival. Kerry canceled two campaign visits to the state.

But Democrats late Wednesday suggested they had found political cover for a visit: an offer from U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., to tour the affected areas. A visit might come as early as Friday.

Since the killer storm slammed into the Gulf Coast late last week, leaving hundreds homeless, it has been all Bush, all the time.

The president and his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush, have been front and center with news coverage of their visits to the hardest-hit areas, offering compassion and government aid. They were quickly followed by Bush appointees, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, who promised federal aid for hurricane victims. The latest appearance came Wednesday, when Labor Secretary Elaine Chao announced a $50 million emergency grant for job assistance.

Kerry, on the other hand, canceled a visit to Orlando and an appearance by running mate John Edwards in Fort Myers, citing concerns that it would be inappropriate to campaign in the midst of a statewide emergency.

An unaffiliated group that raises money for voter mobilization efforts on Kerry’s behalf scrapped a fundraiser in Miami Beach tonight that was to have featured performer Bette Midler.

Late Wednesday, however, Kerry’s campaign suggested it would accept an invitation from Nelson, one of Florida’s two Democratic senators, to tour the scarred counties.

When campaign and hurricane seasons collide, candidates must carefully manage their appearances to seem empathetic, but not opportunistic. After all, it is poor form to erect campaign signs next to storm-tossed homes.

Kerry’s campaign had tried to strike a balance by steering clear of Florida and asking Florida staff members and volunteers to help victims of the storm.

Political strategists suggested the Nelson trip would provide Kerry with the needed cover and an opportunity for the often-aloof candidate to appear sympathetic. In 1992, then-candidate Bill Clinton visited South Dade after Hurricane Andrew on an invitation from then-Gov. Lawton Chiles.

Ultimately, however, the strategists suggested the political benefit from the storm, which slammed into some of the state’s staunchest Republican counties, was likely to be minimal for either of the candidates.

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