George W. Bush travels to Cleveland today in another effort to bolster public support for the war in Iraq. Not so long ago, Republican officials in Ohio would have seen the event as a can't-miss opportunity to wrap themselves in the flag and around the president. So what will happen today? Here's the run-down from the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
"Prominent Ohio Republicans including Sen. Mike DeWine, Sen. George Voinovich and Rep. Steve LaTourette say they're skipping Bush's speech because of prior commitments. DeWine is visiting his convalescing father in Florida and accompanying him to spring training baseball games. LaTourette previously scheduled a staff retreat in Washington. Voinovich has meetings in Washington that he couldn't reschedule. Gov. Bob Taft, whose popularity is even lower than Bush's, isn't expected to attend, either. Taft noted that he attended Bush's speech last month outside Columbus, as did Voinovich. Today's event isn't on the schedules of either Jim Petro or Ken Blackwell, the GOP candidates to replace Taft, their spokesmen said."
Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.