Bob Graham is going national _ and he's got the neckties to match.
Florida's Democratic senior senator and former governor, known for his collection of neckties with outlines of the state of Florida, said Thursday that when he enters his party's race for the presidential nomination he plans to run as a national candidate, not a favorite son from the South. That means campaigning in early contests such as the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.
And those Florida neckties? Gone. Graham will switch to ties with American flags or other patriotic themes. He said he already has them ready.
Graham said Thursday that he thought about switching out his Florida ties sooner, but his wife Adele recommended he wait until he announces his decision to run for president, which he indicated will come in early April.
Graham, whose family businesses include dairy farms, also said he plans to take his trademark "workdays" _ spent working the jobs of average Americans _ outside of Florida, possibly starting on a dairy farm in Iowa. He's done 386 workdays since his first run for governor in 1978, spending time collecting garbage, bagging groceries and even shoveling manure.
"I hope the first one we will be doing will be on a dairy farm which has Holstein cows because this valve I just had put in is a Holstein valve," said Graham, who had surgery in January to replace a faulty heart valve. He also had a double bypass.
Graham said he is feeling fine after spending time recently in South Florida taking walks to build up his strength.
Despite speculation that Graham might choose a Southern campaign strategy, focusing on the early South Carolina primary, he indicated Thursday he would follow the usual path through Iowa and New Hampshire.