Reporter Carl Hulse visited a swing district in Arvada, Colo. and delivered this verdict for Tuesday's Times: "In Unpredictable District, Some Say Bush Is Politicizing Terrorism."
"Mr. Bush has plenty of supporters in this Denver suburb and the surrounding cities, an evenly divided swing district that is a bellwether in the battle for control of the House. But interviews over the last three days here found Republicans, Democrats and independents all expressing degrees of skepticism about Mr. Bush's motives in delivering a set of high-profile speeches on terrorism and the war in Iraq two months before Election Day."
As if Bush could get away with not talking about terrorism and the War in Iraq, two subjects of avid interest to voters.
"The random interviews with dozens of residents across the Seventh Congressional District were not scientific. But they do suggest that Mr. Bush's public standing could be problematic for the Republican candidate in the race for the open House seat, Rick O'Donnell, and that the Republican push on terrorism will not necessarily pack the same political punch it did in 2002 and 2004.
"'I think it is the only card they have got,' said Floyd Ciruli, a longtime Denver pollster, referring to the national Republican focus on terrorism. 'Will it make a difference in Colorado? Absolutely not.'
"If so, that would be bad news for Congressional Republican leaders. They are counting on Mr. Bush's concerted efforts to both raise his own public approval and to simultaneously help give Republican House and Senate candidates an edge on the security issues that have dominated the last two national elections. But polls indicate that the climate is different this year, with fewer Americans confident that the fight against terrorism is going well, and Democrats, including Mr. O'Donnell's opponent, Ed Perlmutter, are vigorously trying to counter Mr. Bush."
"But independents and Democrats repeatedly characterized Mr. Bush's recent spree of speeches and actions on terrorism as a cynical effort to thrust the issue into the Congressional campaign season."
First immigration, now terror - what issues is the GOP allowed to discuss during campaign season?