Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Politico

What convention truce?

With two days on the road, President Barack Obama is shredding the final remnants of a venerable tradition in presidential politics: Each party takes a break from campaigning during the other party's convention.

The notion of a convention "truce" took a hit four years ago, when both Obama and Republican John McCain opted for a few campaign jaunts during the other's party gathering.

But such a high-profile campaign swing — the first by a sitting president during his opponent's convention in recent history — marks a counterprogramming offensive that ends what traditionalists consider a last vestige of civility in an age of nonstop partisan combat.

In addition, Vice President Joe Biden was scheduled to be in Tampa to contrast the Obama ticket with the Republicans — until Tropical Storm Isaac canceled the trip.

The Democrats aren't the only ones to abandon tradition. Mitt Romney will be campaigning in battleground states during next week's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., his spokesman Kevin Madden said. The campaign has not said which states he will visit.

Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters: "There's ample precedent for presidents, candidates, vice presidents campaigning during the other party convention. The president campaigned four years ago. John Kerry campaigned eight years ago, and there is less than 70 days left in the election, until the election, so we know we can't cede a day or a time with voters or a time in an important state."

But Obama's two-day, three-state campaign swing across college campuses this week breaks tradition. It also comes as all eyes are focused on the Gulf Coast, expected to bear the brunt of Isaac.

In 2004, George W. Bush went to his ranch in Crawford, Texas, during the Democratic National Convention but dispatched a group of surrogates for contrast and rapid response purposes. The Bush campaign even declined to run ads during the DNC. His opponent, Kerry, did one American Legion event that he said was scheduled long before the Republican National Convention.

In 2000, Bush also retreated to Crawford during the DNC, telling reporters, "I am going to hang out, be with my wife, maybe chop a little cedar, maybe fish some of the tanks." Al Gore stayed in North Carolina during the RNC. His wife, Tipper, said they would be watching a movie instead of the convention.

In 1996 and 1992, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush both took vacations to Jackson, Wyo., during the RNC and DNC, respectively.

This is not to say that candidates did not send surrogates or have war rooms respond to attacks — almost all candidates from both parties sent staffers or representatives nearby to the other party's conventions to offer rebuttals.

But the tradition came unglued in 2008, when both McCain and Obama decided to continue campaigning through the other party's conventions. McCain did a number of small trips the week of the DNC, and announced his running mate on the Friday after the convention closed to stop any Obama "bump."

Obama, too, had planned a campaign swing in 2008 — until Hurricane Gustav slammed into the Gulf Coast. He cut short events on the first day of the RNC to monitor the hurricane, canceled his events on the second day, then resumed campaigning the last two days with events in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

What convention truce? 08/28/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 11:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021

    Bucs

    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  2. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  3. Analysis: Manchester attack was exactly what many had long feared

    World

    LONDON — For Britain's security agencies, London always seemed like the likely target. For years, the capital of 8 million with hundreds of thousands of weekly tourists and dozens of transit hubs had prepared for and feared a major terror attack.

  4. Dade City man dies after crashing into county bus, troopers say

    Public Safety

    ZEPHYRHILLS — A 38-year-old man died Tuesday after colliding into the rear of a county bus on U.S. 301, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

  5. Suspicious device at Pinellas Park home was a spent artillery round, police say

    Public Safety

    PINELLAS PARK — Bomb squad investigators determined that a "suspicious device" found at a Pinellas Park home Tuesday afternoon was a spent artillery round, police said.