Kerry And Edwards Embark On Four-Day Campaign Tour
Justin Sullivan  /  Getty Images
Kerry and Edwards embark on their first campaign trip as running mates Wednesday.
updated 7/8/2004 12:17:37 AM ET 2004-07-08T04:17:37

Today, saw the Democrats campaigning in the all-important battleground state of Ohio.  The campaign is trying to create as much energy as possible and is choreographing everything to keep the media tidal wave rolling.

The John Kerry-John Edwards media blitz officially began just after 9 a.m. ET Tuesday morning. John Edwards, the man of the hour, was not at the initial announcement that he was chosen to be the vice-presidential running mate. By design, he was kept away from the event so that the Kerry campaign could take the huge story and stretch it out.

The location of the announcement also had strategic significance: Pittsburgh is the home of Teresa Heinz, and the heart of Pennsylvania’s political battlegrounds. It’s also a quick trip for reporters from West Virginia and Ohio, two other crucial battle ground states.

By late Tuesday afternoon, John Edwards finally emerged from his home in Washington D.C.. Edwards and his family did not speak, but the pictures did. And they landed, just as the Kerry campaign had been hoping, on the front pages of the nation’s biggest newspapers.

But even before then, Republicans launched an e-mail blitz portraying Edwards as a liberal, a friend of the trial lawyers, and inexperienced on national security.

Late Tuesday evening, the Kerry campaign, expecting criticism, launched its first Kerry-Edwards television ad.

On Wednesday morning, near Pittsburgh, nearly 24 hours after the first wave of media coverage, the Democrats and their picture-perfect families made their first joint appearance— choreographed and timed out, of course, for the morning news shows.

At times, it was difficult to tell whether John Kerry was more excited to have John Edwards by his side, or Edwards’ adorable son Jack.

In any case, for a Democratic nominee often perceived as stiff and impersonal, this was exactly the warm image Kerry strategists wanted to promote.

John Edwards, Kerry’s top rival in the primaries, played his part, describing Kerry as a “leader.”

And by mid-day Wednesday, the ticket was in Ohio, making it’s first campaign stop. Later, at a news conference, there were a few awkward moments as the two men learned how to share the stage.

Meanwhile, the Bush campaign, mindful of the PR barrage, headed to Edwards’ home state of North Carolina, where the president took a swipe at Edwards, saying “”Dick Cheney can be President,” when asked about the new candidate.

Next up for both camps? Day three of this story: The president has meetings back at the White House, while Kerry and Edwards will hit fundraisers and media appearances in New York— all, of course, choreographed to keep the momentum going.

David Shuster is a correspondent for "Hardball." Watch "Hardball with Chris Matthews" 7 p.m. ET weeknights on MSNBC TV.


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