Dole-Kemp GOP ticket takes to the road Post-convention U.S. tour mimics Democrats' '92 effort

Republican Convention

Campaign 1996

August 16, 1996|By Karen Hosler | Karen Hosler,SUN NATIONAL STAFF

SAN DIEGO -- The newly wedded Republican presidential team takes off today for a post-convention honeymoon tour across the country, and plans to campaign together until at least early September.

Republican campaign strategists have decided that Bob Dole, the GOP presidential nominee, and his ticket mate Jack Kemp, are complementing each other so well that they will mimic the tactic used by the Democrats in 1992 of making an extended series of joint appearances.

"They've done about five events together so far, and even though the two men are very different, each of them augments the other," said John Buckley, Dole's communications director.

The chemistry works so well, Buckley said, that an earlier plan to split the ticket up after a trip this weekend to Kemp's former

congressional district in Buffalo, N.Y., has been scrapped. Instead, the GOP team will take the road together again Wednesday for a trip expected to last until the beginning of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago the following week.

After a few days of vacation during the Democratic convention, Dole and Kemp will kick off Labor Day weekend -- the start of the general election campaign -- with another joint trip beginning Sept. 1.

Clinton-Gore model

Buckley said the model for this change in plans was the bus trip Bill Clinton and his running mate, Al Gore, took after the Democratic convention in 1992.

Like Clinton and Gore, the Republicans hope to get as much mileage as possible out of what they believe has been a successful convention and an attractive partnership.

"This is not going to be a mean and divisive campaign: Jack and I are getting along just fine," Dole said yesterday.

Dole is developing a whole new repertoire of one-liners, featuring his new running mate as sidekick and straight man.

After a farewell appearance this morning in San Diego, the GOP team heads to Denver for a rally there.

The Colorado stop was designed partly to provide grist in time for television evening news programs. But Dole drops by Denver frequently on his way from coast to coast because Colorado is a swing state that went to the Democrats in 1992.

Tomorrow, Dole and Kemp will travel to Springfield, Ill., to attend the state fair, a tradition for GOP presidential candidates, according to Dole aides.

Battleground state

But, the more important reason for the stop, Buckley said, is that Illinois is one of the Midwest battleground states where close presidential contests are often decided.

Dole and Kemp plan to appear in Illinois right before and right after the Democratic convention in Chicago to send a message "to the Clintonistas" that they intend to fight hard for the state.

The GOP "dream team," as it is being called by enthusiastic Republicans, is scheduled to arrive tomorrow night in Buffalo. The vice presidential nominee also is well remembered there for his years as the star quarterback of the Buffalo Bills.

Two appearances are likely in Buffalo, tomorrow evening and Sunday morning.

Dole and Kemp also will attend a rally in Pittsburgh, competing for Pennsylvania's large bounty of electoral votes, before returning to Washington on Sunday evening.

The challenge for Kemp in this schedule is to discipline a nature not given to regimentation. He is as wordy as Dole is terse. Kemp is used to long days, while Dole paces himself to get eight hours of sleep a night.

But Kemp is creating a role for himself in helping out where Dole needs it.

"I'm going to be at his right side. I hope to be his right hand," Kemp said Wednesday, speaking figuratively but also referring to Dole's wounded right arm.

"I hope to make this country right for everyone."

Pub Date: 8/16/96

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