Posted: Nov. 6, 2003


By Celia Cohen

Grapevine Political Writer

First lady Laura W. Bush will be in Delaware on Monday for a pair of appearances in controlled settings, the third time in a week that the wife of a presidential candidate will have stopped here.

Bush's visit will be split between policy and politics, according to Republican State Chairman Terry A. Strine, who called her "one of the most lovable and respected women in American public life."

A former Texas teacher and librarian, Bush will make her first stop at the Shortlidge Elementary School, part of the Red Clay Consolidated School District, in Wilmington to read to students.

Afterwards she will be the headliner at a lunchtime fund-raiser for the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign at the Westover Hills home of Charles M. Cawley, the MBNA Corp. president who is in his second election cycle as a prime moneyman for the Republican presidential ticket. Invitations went to supporters contributing $2,000.

Bush's appearances come a week after Hadassah Lieberman attended the state Democrats' Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, held this past Tuesday in Dover, to represent the campaign of her husband, U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, the Connecticut Democrat who was his party's 2000 vice presidential nominee.

The day after Lieberman was here, Teresa Heinz Kerry held three "meet-and-greet" sessions in Wilmington, New Castle and Dover on behalf of her husband, U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat who also is part of the nine-candidate field for the presidential nomination.

Bush's visit already has had something of an impact on Delaware politics, causing some schedule shuffling for William Swain Lee, the Republican ex-judge who is running for governor. Lee intended to declare his candidacy officially on Monday to coincide with the birthday of the Marine Corps, in which he served. The birthday commemorates the resolution passed by the Continental Congress on Nov. 10, 1775, to raise marine battalions.

Obviously outranked by the first lady, Lee switched his three-county announcement activities to Tuesday, giving him Veterans Day on Nov. 11 as a consolation prize.

"I always felt like a Marine Corps counterfeit, anyway, because no one ever shot at me in anger," Lee said.