October 13, 2004
Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry bumped his arrival in Arizona until this morning, opting to spend more time in the swing state of New Mexico before the final clash with President Bush today in Tempe.
Bush and Kerry will face off in the last of three presidential debates, which will be at Gammage Auditorium at Arizona State University. The debate begins at 6 p.m.
Kerry has been in New Mexico since Sunday. Polls there show a razor-thin margin separates him from Bush, and a new Arizona poll shows the gap has closed here to a few points as well.
Though Kerry had originally planned to fly into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Tuesday night, he opted instead to remain in Santa Fe for final debate preparations, said Sue Walitsky, Arizona spokeswoman for the campaign. He also wanted to be able to watch the opening game in the American League playoffs between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees Tuesday without interruption, something his earlier schedule did not permit, Walitsky said.
Kerry is now scheduled to arrive in the Valley at 10:45 a.m. today.
“If he can get one more round (of debate preparation) and still get in the Red Sox game, that's excellent,” Walitsky said. “He just wants to make sure he's fully prepared. He's beaten the president in two debates and he just wants to make sure he does it again.”
Kerry had no public events scheduled before the debate. Walitsky said Kerry plans a walk-through tour of Gammage to familiarize himself with the auditorium this afternoon, and get in some final debate preparation.
Kerry's only public appearance while in the Valley will be a stop at a debate-
watching rally for his supporters at Tempe Beach Park, Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway. Kerry plans to appear at the event immediately after the debate.
Gates will open for the debate-watching rally at 3:30 p.m. The band Foo Fighters will perform at 5:30 p.m., and again as soon as the debate ends. Tickets will be available until noon today. More information for the rally is available at www.turnazblue.com. Kerry is scheduled to arrive at the rally about 8 p.m. He will leave the Valley at 9:50 p.m. en route to Las Vegas.