NBC's Kelly O'Donnell reports that when asked about Bush's light public schedule today, aides said it's because Bush will be traveling for the next six days and needs to deal with regular business. The White House has released the President's schedule for the rest of the week: rallies in Billings, MT and Elko, NV on Thursday; Springfield and Joplin, MO and LeMars, IA on Friday; and in Greeley, CO on Saturday.
One casualty of Bush hitting the trail has been GOP lawmakers' plans to bang the drum on immigration reform. As one top House GOP aide tells NBC's Mike Viqueira, House Republicans really want to campaign on a hard line against illegal immigration. But Bush's softer line on the issue -- he wants a guest-worker plan and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently living in the United States -- throws a wrench into their plans. The best that Bush can do on the stump is tout the border fence bills he has signed, one authorizing the fence and one providing a down payment on it (the whole fence is far from funded). Indeed, Bush could probably get the bill he wants with a Democrat-run House, since there probably are enough votes for such a bill in the Senate and the House was always the sticking point.
Laura Bush today campaigns in Kentucky for endangered GOP Rep. Ron Lewis and state Republicans, then does the same for the party in Ohio.