When it comes to spin, Kerry campaign aides apparently are willing to put their money where reporters' mouths are.
Kerry campaign spokesman Phil Singer noted Bush's absence from the key state of Ohio since Oct. 2 in a late-night e-mail to reporters in which he also extended an unusual offer from a senior campaign adviser.
The Kerry spokesman, whose job is to counter Bush's message of the day with a blitz of calls to the cell phones of White House reporters, included this in his latest Singer-gram:
"FREE DINNER CONTEST: We're offering a free dinner for two on Joe Lockhart at any restaurant in Washington for the first reporter to correctly guess when Bush will be in Ohio next (second place is dinner with Joe)."
This morning, the White House gave the answer: On Friday, when Bush will talk about health care and medical liability in Canton.
Bush aides scoffed at the idea that they are pulling back in Ohio and said the president will be there at least four times before Election Day. "Ohio is with us, but close," a Bush aide said.
Vice President Cheney also will hold a town meeting at a historic-squadron hangar at the airport in Carroll, Ohio.
No word yet on who won Singer's e-mail offer.
The Bush-Cheney campaign sends its own clever campaign e-mails. In one message sent this morning, the campaign announced a new way of trying to convince the president's followers to find more followers: an appeal to Bush supporters to recruit more supporters.
The campaign considers mobilizing existing supporters to be a safer bet than merely relying on converting the last few undecided voters, who historically are unlikely to break for the incumbent.
Matthew Dowd, the campaign's chief strategist, sent what appeared to be a secret strategy memo but in fact was an appeal for supporters to recruit "two new George W. Bush supporters" in the two weeks before Election Day -- "two in two."
Dowd, who is known within the campaign as being a natural pessimist but publicly comes across as Mr. Sunshine, began his missive by saying that Bush "has seized the momentum" and "will be spending the last two weeks on the offensive."