Nation/World

Bush, Kerry prepare for upcoming debate

CRAWFORD, Texas – Their first debate less than a week away, President Bush and Democrat John Kerry kept their public schedules clear on Saturday and began to focus on their prime-time showdown.

At his Texas ranch, Bush and his political advisers went over plans and worked toward an evening practice session for the leadoff debate of the 2004 campaign.

In Boston, Kerry caught up on work and met with campaign staff at his home ahead of the Thursday night debate at the University of Miami. Today, the Massachusetts senator was shifting camp to a Wisconsin resort for his debate preparations.

“Getting the American people to see them side by side as potential commanders in chief is a real part of what we’re going to be doing when we stand up at that first debate,” Kerry campaign spokesman Mike McCurry said.

Joining Bush at his ranch was Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, who was standing in for Kerry in a practice round expected to last a few hours.

“I think this will be an opportunity for him to crystallize his thoughts prior to the first debate,” White House press secretary Scott McClellan said. “You obviously only have a limited amount of time to get your points across.”



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