updated 10/20/2004 1:07:44 AM ET 2004-10-20T05:07:44

Former President Clinton will campaign for Sen. John Kerry early next week in Philadelphia, a senior Democratic official who is familiar with the former president’s plans said Tuesday.

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It was unclear whether Kerry would be there, too. But Clinton, who is recovering from heart surgery, has agreed to appear for his fellow Democrat, who is locked in a tight race against President Bush, the official said.

Kerry’s campaign also has outlined for Clinton other ways he can help rally voters and participate in the last two weeks of the presidential campaign, including visits to battleground states.

“There has been some discussion with the former president about things that will be great for him to do,” said Kerry adviser Mike McCurry. “We’re hoping that something will be able to come together.”

Subject to doctors' approval
McCurry, who served as White House press secretary under Clinton, said the campaign hopes to hear back in time to plan events before Election Day, Nov. 2. The proposal, subject to approval by Clinton and his doctors, includes a combination of solo events and joint appearances with Kerry, McCurry said.

At a campaign rally Tuesday night, Kerry said he spoke to Clinton briefly by telephone before the event in Ohio and that Clinton encouraged him as the contest for the White House grows increasingly personal in its final days.

“We were talking about how when the other guys are trying to label you and make you into something you’re not,” Kerry told several thousand supporters at the home field of the Dayton Dragons minor league baseball team.

“And Bill Clinton and I were talking, and he said, ‘You know, when the other guy wants you to stop thinking and he’s trying to scare you into not thinking, and you want Americans to think about their future, it’s pretty clear who you ought to be voting for,”’ Kerry said.

Clinton has spent the last six weeks recovering from quadruple bypass surgery, with doctors instructing him to get plenty of rest. Kerry campaign officials have eagerly awaited word of whether Clinton could get out to personally encourage voters to support the Democratic presidential nominee.

Kerry: ‘I think it's possible’
Earlier Tuesday, during a stop in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Kerry told a local TV station that Clinton may come help him in that state, where polls showed the Democrat tied with Bush. McCurry said the campaign hopes the former president will be strong enough to visit other battlegrounds, as well.

“I think it’s possible in the next days former President Clinton may be here, working,” Kerry told NBC affiliate WGAL.

McCurry said Kerry was only “expressing a hope.”

“If he is able to travel, we would like him to consider Pennsylvania among other locations, but we have not had a firm answer on whether he was able to campaign or not,” McCurry said.

Clinton spokesman Jim Kennedy declined to comment.

Even though he has not been traveling, Clinton regularly phones Kerry and his aides to offer advice. He also has agreed to tape a phone message that will be delivered to voters’ homes, and he may record radio advertisements.

Clinton, 58, underwent surgery in New York City on Sept. 6 after complaining of chest pain and shortness of breath. He has been recovering at home in Chappaqua just north of New York City and has recently been going on walks and chatting with other residents.

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