Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry spent part of his Independence Day in Independence, Iowa. Kerry ended a three-day tour through Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa in Cedar Rapids with a speech before the city’s fireworks disply. Kerry started his Sunday by going to church in Dubuque, then he stopped in Dyersville to play baseball at the Field of Dreams with his daughters and others in the campaign entourage. Kerry’s mid-afternoon stop was in Independence for a backyard barbeque. Governor Tom Vilsack — one of the men Kerry’s considered as a runningmate — was in the crowd, along with his wife, and Kerry again credited Mrs. Vilsack’s endorsement as a turning point in his Iowa Caucus campaign. “In Tom and Christie Vilsack, you’ve got two public servants, I mean servants, in the best meaning of the word,” Kerry said. “They give back. They care. They’re making a difference and I’m grateful to call them my friends and mainstays in this campaign for the presidency.” Governor Tom Vilsack spoke first, but spoke briefly. Vilsack said the country started when folks had a problem with a leader named George, and now, 228 years later, Vilsack says folks are still concerned about a leader named George. Kerry may announce his choice for runningmate as early as tomorrow. Kerry’s three-day trip was designed to make a direct appeal to rural voters. Kerry visited a gun range in Wisconsin and spent part of his speech in Independence talking about farm policy. Kerry also mentioned the only Iowan ever to become president. “You know, Herbert Hoover has a mixed reputation nationally for obvious reasons. The economy was difficult. He was a great man in a lot ways, a very accomplished man. A lot of people don’t know that,” Kerry said. “But nevertheless, he did preside over one of the worst economies in American history, and everybody in Iowa can now rest easy because Herbert Hoover’s reputation has been salvaged by George Bush who’s given us the worst economy that we’ve seen in years and that is exactly what we’re going to change on November 2nd.” Ken Mehlman, the national manager of President Bush’s re-election campaign, says the country’s economy has turned the corner and more jobs are being created. Last night Kerry left Iowa bound for Pittsburg amid speculation that he’ll announce who he’s chosen as a runningmate as soon as Tuesday. Governor Vilsack left Iowa, too, bound for what he termed a vacation in Ocean City, New Jersey. During an interview with Radio Iowa, Vilsack was mum about the process of being interviewed as a potential runningmate for Kerry.
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