Clinton to join Kerry at campaign rally next week
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) -- Former President Clinton will appear with Sen. John Kerry at a lunchtime rally in Philadelphia on Monday in what Democrats hope will be a boost to the presidential ticket in a crucial battleground state.
The two-term former president also will campaign separately for the Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Lockhart, an adviser to Kerry and former Clinton press secretary, said Wednesday.
Clinton, who is recovering from heart surgery, has agreed to the appearance for his fellow Democrat, who is locked in a tight race against President Bush.
Jim Kennedy, a spokesman for Clinton, said the former president "is pleased to be able to help John Kerry in this very important campaign for the future of our country."
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.
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.
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.