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Bush, Kerry, Step Up Campaigning - 2004-09-03

President Bush, fresh from winning his partys nomination for a second term at the Republican National Convention, returns to the campaign trail Friday. His Democratic Party challenger, John Kerry, sought to get a step ahead of the President by holding a midnight rally.

With his convention now behind him, President Bush heads to Pennsylvania, a state rich in electoral votes where the candidates are running neck and neck. Mr. Bush plans a morning rally Friday to launch the final two months of his close race against Senator Kerry.

Mr. Bush hopes the four-day convention will give his campaign extra momentum. Indeed, some opinion surveys already show the President with a slight lead over Senator Kerry, who had only a small surge in the polls after he was nominated by the Democratic Party in Boston in July

From Pennsylvania, Mr. Bush is to travel to Wisconsin and Ohio.

Mr. Kerry and his running mate, Senator John Edwards, are in Ohio, where he got a head start on the campaign trail with a rally in the town of Springfield, shortly after Mr. Bush concluded his acceptance speech at the convention.

While the President emphasized national security issues in his convention speech, Senator Kerry highlighted domestic matters, including jobs and health care.

Political analyst Stuart Rothenberg said he expects that trend to continue. "For the President, Republicans clearly want this election to be about the war on terror, the Presidents response to it, the handling of the war against terror. For the Democrats, Senator Kerry is disappointed I think about where he is now. He and his advisors have decided to go back to the economy as an issue, I think they will talk about some domestic themes, and maybe focus on the war in Iraq as opposed to the war against terror," he said.

From Ohio, Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards will also travel to Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan Friday and Saturday.