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May 31, 2006

Dems say McGavick Afraid of Bush Visit

Posted by David Postman at 7:40 AM

Am I a dupe? Naive maybe? Democratic chairman Dwight Pelz seems to think something's wrong. He called last night to tell me he's convinced Mike McGavick is trying to avoid being seen with President Bush when Bush comes here next month. McGavick said he would have done a fundraiser with Bush — who will raise money for Congressman Dave Reichert — but that he's going to be on the east coast attending the high school graduation of his son. (He said he's been told he could raise between $500,000 and $750,000 at a fund raiser headlined by Bush.) It seemed plausible to me. But not to Pelz:

The U.S. Senate is in play. This is one of the few states where Republicans say they can pick up a seat. ... McGavick is ducking Bush. McGavick wants to stand by Bush in Washington, D.C., for a rubberstamp for his policies but he doesn't want to stand by George Bush in Washington state.
Pelz said he isn't "challenging Mike McGavick's affection for his family" and says graduations are important for families. But, he said, "If McGavick wanted Bush to come to Washington state they would have been comparing schedules and found the time to do it while McGavick was available."

I asked Pelz why McGavick would duck Bush but not Vice President Cheney, who he stood with in Spokane. Pelz said maybe McGavick had come to his senses and decided that was a bad move. And it was conservative Spokane and not somewhere in the more liberal Puget Sound area.

Would McGavick go through this to avoid a photo on the front page of him and President Bush? It's not like McGavick has said he doesn't need or welcome Bush's help or that he's too independent to stand with the president. The question is, does being out of town when Bush is here really get McGavick anything?

I checked with McGavick for some follow up questions. He thought it was funny how Democrats have tagged him as running a poor campaign but now say the Senate race here is in play and that he could dictate the president's schedule.

I don't expect the President to schedule around my son's graduation and neither do I think he expects me to cut it short. These guys on the other side have to get a life. On the one hand they say we're flailing. ... I've been hearing all along that this wasn't even a contest. Well we seem to have improved our position quite a lot.

Is he trying to distance himself from the President?

Well, I've always spoken clearly where the president and I agree and where we disagree. But I have done nothing to avoid the Administration. You might look to the simple fact that I appeared with Vice President Cheney in Spokane. I'm glad the president is coming. I'm sorry I won't be here. I hope he comes again and I hope I will be able to be with him. But there is nothing in a campaign that can pull me away from Jack's graduation. Period.

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