President George W. Bush may take to a podium in Florida Saturday morning to support brother Jeb Bush’s attempt to be re-elected as governor.
That’s not a surprise. What could be surprising, and exciting for Tampa Bay Republicans, is that a slight possibility exists that such an address will take place at USF.
But is a presidential visit to USF a sure thing?
Well, according to USF media relations director Michael Reich, maybe and maybe not.
“At this point, it is tentative,” Reich said. “Nothing is confirmed that the president is coming.”
But the possibility that USF could receive a presidential visit was born early Monday morning with the weekly release of USF President Judy Genshaft’s schedule. Intermixed with the normal scheduling cocktail of cabinet and provost meetings was a note for Saturday that read, “FYI: President Bush @ USF (Sun Dome or Soccer Field).”
Michael LaPan, president for Sun Dome, Inc., said Monday that he had been contacted by the Republican Party. He said he was asked if the facility could be used for a Gov. Bush rally Saturday, three days before the Nov. 5 gubernatorial election.
LaPan said he could not confirm who would be present at the rally. He said a meeting will be held today to plan the event, after which he will know much more.
Reich confirmed that members of the Jeb Bush/ Frank Brogan campaign contacted the university about utilizing the Sun Dome. But Reich said he did not know much about a possible visit from President Bush.
Bush has spent much of his time during the past few weeks traveling the country stumping and fundraising for Republican candidates who are up for election next week. The president has spent some time in Florida, helping brother Jeb.
In addition to brotherly support, it has been widely acknowledged that maintaining Republican control in Florida is important for the president in his upcoming re-election campaign.
White House media relations personnel did not return a phone message Monday asking where the president is scheduled to visit this weekend.
The state community relations department in Tallahassee was also contacted. Officials there said they could not confirm the governor’s schedule for Saturday this early in the week. Reich said that is not unusual, and that is what makes confirming the possibility of a presidential visit is difficult.
“You never know. Five days out for the governor or president is extremely tentative,” Reich said. “Their schedules change so much from one day to the next.”