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Bush, Kerry to cross paths

John Kerry should be in the midst of his "economic summit" with Iowa business and labor leaders in Daven-port when Air Force One touches down Wed-nesday at the Quad City Inter-national Airport.

While it already was known that Kerry and Bush would campaign on the same day in Davenport, the extent of their overlapping schedules was not known until the campaigns re-leased itineraries Mon-day.

Kerry, armed with last week's Democratic nomination, is scheduled to appear from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the River Center. Bush, meanwhile, will begin speaking at 11:25 a.m., roughly four blocks away at LeClaire Park.

Though unplanned, the coinciding visits might prove beneficial for the candidates, providing a similar stage and similar audience to clearly draw their distinctions - everything short of meeting one another in a debate.

"It is a rare circumstance, thus far," said Kerry campaign spokesman Colin Van Ostern. "We think it's a good thing, putting John Kerry and George Bush side-by-side ... we think it's a good contrast."

Bush's regional spokeswoman, Merrill Smith, said such a scenario had yet to arise elsewhere - but it might not be the last time the two campaigns overlap in Iowa, considered a swing state in the November election.

"You will see many more VIP visits between now and November," she said, recalling that Bush lost the state by little more than 4,000 votes in the 2000 election to Democratic nominee Al Gore. "We are working very hard to make sure that doesn't happen again."

Kerry also will be in Dubuque for a rally from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. today at the Five Flags Civic Center. While Wednesday's events are private, today's is public with tickets available online at www.johnkerry.com/iowa or at the Kerry-Edwards office in Dubuque at 1198 White St.

People wanting tickets for Bush's rally should contact their local Republican Party officials or U.S. Rep. Jim Nussle's office in Davenport.

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