The Washington Times reports, "So far this year, Mr. Bush has done 10 times as many closed-press fundraising events compared to 2002. He has also not appeared at a single major Republican rally, unlike four years ago, when he did 32."
The New York Times says there is a "certain class" of Republican candidates who want Bush at their events. "There are those facing ethical questions or struggling to recover from gaffes. There are those desperate for the cash Mr. Bush can bring in just by showing up for lunch. There are those who need the president to turn out a demoralized base."
The Hill reports that Karl Rove told Republican supporters at a Washington fundraiser last Friday "that the media was misreading the political environment s- that the combination of money and mobilization of religious conservatives could keep the House in Republican hands... Despite evidence that voters could direct a barrage of negative public opinion against Republican officeholders on Election Day, Rove and President Bush have been upbeat, making some Democrats nervous about current predictions and worrying some Republicans."
(Indeed, some Democrats in Washington are getting nervous about their more optimistic colleagues' exuberance, the Washington Times reports.)
The Washington Post reports on the White House's time-tested reliance on conservative voters to turn out. "The White House courtship of the right paid enormous dividends in the past, but this year it is complicated by a far more skeptical audience than in 2002 and 2004."
Also covering talk-radio day, USA Today notes that "the difference this year is that some conservatives, such as economist Bruce Bartlett and blogger Andrew Sullivan, have been critical of Bush policies on the war in Iraq and federal spending as elections loom Nov. 7."
The Wall Street Journal reports from a northern suburb of Cincinnati that at least anecdotally, "Christian conservatives seem to have faith that the president is sincere" in his allegiance with them, despite the Kuo book charging that White House officials made fun of them. "And that's what the White House is counting on, as it looks to Christian conservative voters to come out next month and at least blunt the big losses the party almost certainly will suffer."
The upcoming New York Times magazine profiles the uniquely visible and politically engaged White House spokesman Tony Snow as he oversees the briefing room of a president who's under 40% in the polls just weeks before a critical election.