Inviting W to the campaign trail

INVITING W TO THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL…. President Obama was in Texas yesterday, and hosted fundraising events in Austin and Dallas, raking in $1.7 million for his party. But during his visits, former Houston Mayor Bill White, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, kept his distance, citing previous commitments elsewhere.

It led the RNC to push its message of the day: Democratic candidates don’t want to campaign with the president. There’s ample evidence to the contrary — though, Texas politics being what it is, White’s campaign strategy is hardly shocking — but for an August story, Republicans seemed pretty excited about this yesterday.

Obviously, just as in 2008, there are going to be some areas where Obama is more popular than other areas. In fact, as strategies go, Dems seem to have a pretty good plan: send Obama to help Democratic candidates where it’ll help, and send Bill Clinton to help Democratic candidates where Obama’s less popular. It’s the benefit of having two popular national leaders available.

But so long as presidents on the campaign trail are a subject of interest, it’s worth considering where George W. Bush is hiding. MSNBC hosted a discussion yesterday with DNC Communications Director Brad Woodhouse and RNC Communications Director Doug Heye, and one exchange stood out.

Contessa Brewer: Is Bush still the guy that nobody wants around campaigning for them because of how low his approval ratings were?

Doug Heye: No, not at all.

Really? Not at all? If so, exactly how many candidates should we expect to see getting campaign support from the former president?

Unless I’ve missed it, Bush has kept an extremely low profile when it comes to the midterm elections — as far as I can tell, he hasn’t made an effort to help literally any candidates this year — but if the RNC’s chief spokesperson believes Bush would be welcome campaigning with Republican candidates, I’ll look forward to the events.

I have a strong hunch, though, that Heye may not be sincere. Indeed, just last week, there was a report that the release of George W. Bush’s book was delayed “out of fear that a public reminder of his presidential legacy would hurt Republicans heading into November’s midterm elections.”

This need not be complicated. Republican leaders have been candid about their desire to go back to the “exact same agenda” Bush/Cheney used to get us into this mess in the first place. And now the RNC’s chief spokesperson believes Republicans are “not at all” afraid to be seen with the former president. It’s an easy enough proposition: prove it.