A rally for President Bush in Manchester, N.H., today had an unusually festive. One reason is that this New England battleground state also is the northern outpost of Red Sox nation, and many fans in Manchester were still celebrating Wednesday night's World Series victory by wearing red and blue caps, jerseys and T-shirts.

In addition to the usual "Veterans for Bush" and "W Stands for Women" signs, supporters held sings that said "Red Sox Fans for Bush," using the team's typography and logo.

Pitcher Curt Schilling, the series hero for his valiant pitching despite an ankle injury, had been scheduled to introduce Bush in Manchester and later rally in Portsmouth, N.H., but he backed out at the last minute, saying he was not "medically cleared" to make appearances until he sees a doctor on Sunday.

The Bush-Cheney campaign, scrambling for any edge in New Hampshire, rushed to arrange for the appearance after Schilling said Thursday on ABC's "Good Morning America" that viewers should vote for Bush.

Schilling said in a statement Friday that while he has voted for Bush by absentee ballot, "Speaking as I did the other day was wrong. While I hope to see him re-elected, it's not my place, nor the time for me to offer up my political opinions unsolicited."