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Bush cousins launch pro-Kerry website
Updated: 2004-10-26 10:08

There goes the invitation to the Texas ranch. Seven distant relatives of President Bush have created a Web site urging visitors: "Please, don't vote for our cousin."

The Bush relatives, supporters of Democratic challenger John Kerry, say they've never met the president but disagree with his policies ranging from the war in Iraq to the environment.

The Web site was launched in late September "to help America heal from the sickness it has suffered since George Bush was appointed president in 2000."

"I don't really feel like it's a betrayal," said Sheila House, the president's second cousin and co-creator of the site. "I'll definitely admit that we're using the relationship as a hook to get people to talk about politics."

The people behind the Web site are all grandchildren of Mary Bush House, the sister of Prescott Bush, who was the father and grandfather of the two Bush presidents. That makes them second cousins of the president.

The idea came about when Kerry spotted Sheila House's cousin, Jeanny House, at a rally waving a sign that read "Bush Relative for Kerry." They shook hands and Kerry joked about creating a Web site, Sheila House said.

The site, which includes the headline, "Because blood is thinner than oil!" offers testimonials from the Bush relatives.

The Bush campaign did not return a call seeking comment.

A group of moderate Democrats are rolling out ads to court Hispanic voters in nine states, including a commercial targeting Puerto Ricans in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Orlando and Tampa, Fla.

The radio ad mixes a song and a discussion of tax refunds to urge listeners to vote Democratic. The commercial argues that Democrats pushed for a tax refund of up to $1,000 per child per year for Puerto Ricans, but Republicans opposed it with a voice singing, "Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye. Dear refund. I'll miss you."

The latest series of ads for The New Democrat Network's "Hispanic Project" will air on radio and TV in nine states, including Florida, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada. The group has spent $6 million since March to increase political awareness among Hispanics and encourage them to vote Democratic.

The ads to be released over the next eight days target subgroups of Hispanics, such as Cuban-Americans in Southern Florida.

"It's not just 'Oh look, we Democrats speak Spanish,'" said Joe Garcia, an adviser to the group. "We understand more than just broad groups. There are subgroups with very specific issues before us."

New campaign ads set to debut Tuesday will blame the flu vaccine shortage on Democratic Sen. John Kerry and his ties to the trial lawyers — a return shot by conservatives after Democrats blamed the shortfall on the Bush administration.

Funded by the conservative anti-tax group, Club for Growth, the 30-second TV spot and full-page newspaper ads will link the dearth of flu shots to Kerry's and vice presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards' opposition to medical lawsuit reform backed by Republicans.

"Trial lawyers and their allies in Congress have effectively killed flu vaccine production in the United States," said Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth. "Can't get your flu shot? Thank the trial lawyers and their two best friends in Congress: John Kerry and John Edwards."

The Club for Growth ad — which will run in major newspapers and some targeted states — suggests that other vaccine makers have been driven out of the business by billion-dollar lawsuits.

Kerry opposed versions of legislation backed by President Bush that would place a nationwide $250,000 cap on non-economic damage awards in medical lawsuits.

Democrats and trial lawyers argue that there should be tighter controls on insurance companies, not on juries that may be a victimized patient's only hope for justice. Edwards is a personal injury lawyer.

Kerry released a radio advertisement on the issue last week. And he has claimed that the Bush administration got advance word of the European supply disruption and did nothing about it, calling it a "serious demonstration of the failure of leadership."

The administration has denied it knew about the contamination problems that prompted British authorities to shut down one of the two companies that makes the vaccine for the U.S. market.

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