CRAWFORD, Texas – Voters in eight battleground states will be getting a rolling preview of the Republican National Convention (search) in New York City when some of its most prominent speakers join President Bush for a pre-convention campaign swing.
Those traveling with the president include high-profile, independent-minded politicians who could expand his base of support: Rudy Giuliani (search), the former New York City mayor who led the city's recovery after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; Sen. Zell Miller (search), a Georgia Democrat who backs Bush; Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has opposed gay marriage in his state; and Arizona Sen. John McCain, a staunch supporter of the president's policies in Iraq.
Bush will visit New Mexico, Florida, Ohio, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Michigan, Tennessee and Iowa before arriving in New York to accept the party's nomination on Sept. 2.
Holding the convention in New York is a way for the Republicans to try to burnish Bush's image as a wartime president and remind voters he guided the nation through the terrorist attacks there in 2001.
Bush begins his pre-convention tour with three stops in New Mexico on Thursday. Giuliani, who addresses the convention on Monday, will be with Bush for rallies in Las Cruces, Farmington and Albuquerque.
On Friday, Bush travels to Florida to rally voters in Miami in hopes of expanding the razor-thin victory he had there in 2000. The president will be joined by Miller, this year's keynote convention speaker.
On Saturday, Bush is going on yet another bus tour -- this time in Ohio with stops in Troy, Maumee-Fort Meigs and Lima. Rounding out the weekend, Bush will travel to Wheeling, W.Va., for a rally on Sunday.
As the convention gets under way in New York on Monday, Bush will be in Detroit and in Nashua, N.H., where he will be joined by Romney. On Tuesday, Bush will be in Nashville and then in Alleman, Iowa, where he will be joined by McCain, a day after McCain addresses the convention. In Nashville, Bush will address a gathering of the American Legion before going to a farm show in Iowa.
On Wednesday, Bush will rally supporters in Columbus, Ohio, before traveling to New York City. Bush will stay in New York on Wednesday night and address the convention on Thursday.
In 2000, Bush spent parts of three days at his party's convention. His father, former President George H.W. Bush, spent parts of four days at the 1988 convention; in 1992, he was there for parts of five days.