The president's coming; everybody run

As Bush travels the country, some Republicans think it's best to make themselves scarce.

Tim Grieve
May 23, 2006 5:20PM (UTC)

When George W. Bush hits the campaign trail these days, you tend to hear a lot about the "previous commitments" of Republican candidates who aren't exactly itching to appear onstage with one of the most unpopular presidents in recent American history.

Then there's Rep. Curt Weldon. The Pennsylvania Republican will make himself scarce when Bush visits his home state this week, and he's pretty clear about the reason why. The president "is really doing poorly in our state," Weldon tells the Wall Street Journal. "I've got to win this by myself."


As the Journal notes, Weldon isn't quite as handy with his own bootstraps as all that: John McCain has visited Weldon's district to help him raise money, and Weldon held a fundraiser with Dick Cheney, albeit at a lobbying firm in Washington, far from the local newspaper photographers and TV camera crews who might otherwise capture an image of Weldon with the vice president.

In his interview with the Journal, Weldon insists that he is "not really running away from the president," even as he acknowledges that "there's nothing the president can do to help me." Weldon's Democratic challenger, former Navy Adm. Joe Sestak, accuses Weldon of "trying to manufacture" a life "separate" from the president's. Funny, but we thought only Democrats did that sort of thing.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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